AMBASSADOR THRILLED TO BE BACK IN CANADA
Although it’s his first official posting here, Peruvian Ambassador Jorge Castañeda is now living in Canada for the second time.
The career diplomat arrived this summer to take up his third ambassadorial post, after Poland and Thailand. He spent a couple of years in Canada in the 90s when his former wife was posted here. Because spouses couldn’t both work at embassies, he took a leave and studied at Carleton University, ultimately completing his master’s in international relations.
Now he’s back, this time as the boss, and he has a number of priorities for what will most likely be a five-year posting.
“My first priority is to try to arrange a friendship framework, similar to the one that was signed with Chile in 2007,” Mr. Castañeda said. “It should be an umbrella that takes in different fields of bilateral relations.”
Mr. Castañeda points out that Prime Minister
is going on an official visit to Peru in November and figures it’s a good opportunity to sign such a document. He also hopes his president will come to Ottawa on an official visit during his posting.
First and foremost, the ambassador will be responsible for helping implement the free trade agreement between Canada and Peru, which comes into effect Jan. 1. “I want to try to diversify Canadian investment in Peru because now it’s mainly focused on mining and oil and gas exploration but there’s a lot of room for other types of investment including infrastructure, forestry and fishery.”
Under the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America, there’s plenty of opportunity including building roads, airports and establishing telecommunications networks, he said.
Mr. Castañeda noted that Peru’s inflation rate is one of the lowest on the continent while its economy is healthy with $30 million U.S. in reserves. Further, its trade with China is growing. After the U.S., China and the EU are tied as Peru’s second biggest trading partners while Canada is low on the list, accounting for only five per cent of its trade. That’s something Mr. Castañeda hopes will change.
The ambassador is pleased to be back in Ottawa, which he calls “a nice, safe city.” His wife, who is still working in Peru with the ministry of labour, will join him in the fall.
Albania and Croatia are another step closer to joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after both countries signed protocols last week to open the way for accession in 2009. Albanian Ambassador
was pleased with the development, which he called “a good first step.” He expects NATO membership to give his country more stability, security, and more guaranteed investments. “Being liberated means not just meeting the institutional, legislative and economic reforms, but also more responsibility,” he said, and added that joining NATO will help Albania in its ultimate goal of joining the European Union.
Croatia, meanwhile, shares that goal. “We have two strategic goals: NATO and EU membership,” said Croatian Ambassador
Vesela Mrden Korac yesterday from Zagreb.
Now both countries just have to wait until all NATO members ratify the protocol. They expect that to happen and for their memberships to become official by next spring.
Summer is the time for new diplomatic postings and Foreign Affairs Minister
announced a slew of them last week.
Anna Biolik becomes ambassador to Mongolia; am-
Peter M. Boehm, bassador to Germany;
consul general to Los Angeles; and am-
John Gero, bassador and permanent representative to the World Trade Organization in Geneva.
becomes ambassador to Kuwait and Qatar;
ambassador to Vietnam;
Patricia Langan-Torell, ambassador to Panama; Charles Larabie,
consul general to Rio de Janeiro;
ambassador to the Holy See; ambas-
Richard Lecoq, sador to Peru;
Peter Lundy, ambassador to Denmark; and John Morrison,
ambassador to Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Meanwhile,
becomes ambassador to Lebanon; am-
Gilles Rivard, bassador to Haiti;
ambassador to Burkina Faso; high
David Sevigny, commissioner to Singapore; Doreen Steidle,
consul general to Hong Kong and Macao.