LIMA – Foreign Minister Eda Rivas hailed Peru’s improved image abroad during a forum organized on Wednesday by Agencia Efe, touting the stability her country offers investors and its strong relations with its neighbors and other regions of the world.
Rivas said during the “Agencia Efe Breakfast” discussion series in Lima, an event that drew leading members of Peru’s political, business and media worlds, that Peru “is viewed with real interest” as an emerging, upper-middle-income economy and considered a development model for its results in terms of poverty reduction.
She mentioned President Ollanta Humala’s recent participation in international gatherings, including a U.N. General Assembly meeting in September in which he presented Peru’s progress in meeting the U.N. millennium development goals.
Meetings with Ecuadorian government officials at the presidential and ministerial levels are scheduled for Thursday in the northwestern Peruvian city of Piura, Rivas said.
She added that she would meet Friday with her Honduran counterpart in Lima and travel next week to Canada to prepare the way for Humala’s official visit there.
“These visits are evidence of the intense work that’s the responsibility of the Foreign Ministry,” the minister said, adding that Peru was “positioning itself as ... a vigorous nation” with a commitment to “growth that implies development and wellbeing.”
“Peru has left behind the image of being a dangerous country, with terrorism, from which people want to leave. Today, it is all the opposite,” Rivas said.
“Spain’s initiative to eliminate the requirement of obtaining Schengen visas for short stays for tourism – which has received strong backing from the European Parliament – is a clear example” of how far Peru has come, the foreign minister said.
The proposal, however, still has “a long road to travel” because “it is hard to rid one’s head of images of a country that is no longer that way,” Rivas said.
Peru’s younger generations have “job opportunities in their own country” and “this (the elimination of visas) is not going to be a stampede of Peruvians going to look for work in Europe, just the opposite,” the foreign minister said.
Regarding Spanish investment in Peru, Rivas said her country provided a stable legal system, making it an “interesting destination” where the government was now seeking “investment with technology exchanges.”
Separately, Rivas said Peru “is more aware that its central position both in terms of South American geography and Latin American and world history has also always made us a country that ... seeks consensus.”
With respect to Peru’s relations with its neighbors, Rivas said the 2011 maritime border agreement with Ecuador and an upcoming ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague “that will bring an end to (Peru’s dispute over its) maritime boundary with Chile, are milestones in our foreign relations.”
Rivas said both Peru and Chile are “waiting for the ruling to be handed down,” but added that “we don’t know when that will be.”
Peru, which rejects the maritime boundary established in treaties signed in 1952 and 1954, brought the dispute to the ICJ in 2008.
The breakfast forum was attended by ambassadors, high-level Peruvian officials and executives from the Peruvian units of Spanish multinationals, as well as Peruvian business leaders, politicians and journalists.
The forum was presented by Agencia Efe director of editorial operations Maria Luisa Azpiazu and sponsored by Spain’s Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, or FCC.
This was the first breakfast forum sponsored by Agencia Efe, Spain’s international news agency, in Peru.