Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson and Central American Integration System (SICA) Secretary General Juan Daniel Alemán Gurdián signed a Memorandum of Understanding granting the United States observer status with SICA on May 18, 2012. This agreement underscores the United States’ commitment to partnership with Central America to work for greater prosperity and security for the citizens of the region.
Established in1991, SICA is the institutional framework for regional integration in Central America. Member states include Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The Dominican Republic participates as an Associated State. Countries holding observer status are Chile, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Spain.
At the June 22, 2011, SICA International Conference of Support in Guatemala City, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the United States would seek observer status with SICA. On December 16, 2011, the SICA Heads of State or Government instructed the SICA General Secretariat to proceed with the necessary steps to formalize the admission of the United States as a Regional Observer to SICA as soon as possible. The Memorandum of Understanding is nonbinding and lays out the privileges of a SICA observer state.