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Colombia Seeks APEC Membership in 2007
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Colombia has beefed up its efforts to seek entry into the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2007, Foreign Minister Maria Consuelo Araujo said on Tuesday.

With a specific strategy policy already in place, the government would endeavor to realize this long-cherished aspiration through official and unofficial channels, the minister said.

According to the policy, besides APEC membership, Colombia would also seek to play a role in all important Asia-Pacific organizations, like the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC) and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

Colombia applied for APEC's membership as early as in 1995, but its bid was halted as the organization stopped accepting new members from 1993 to 1996, and the moratorium was further prolonged to 2007.

As part of the country's efforts to join APEC, the foreign minister launched a five-nation tour in Latin America one week after he took the post on Aug. 7.

During the tour, the minister visited Chile and Peru, both APEC members, and succeeded in securing the two countries' pledge to support Colombia's bid for the membership.

Meanwhile, during his presidential inauguration for a new term on Aug. 7, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Peruvian President Alan Garcia respectively, and reached common ground on the issue with the two leaders.

(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2006)

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