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    Organization of American States
    Press Release, July 8, 2004.  Reference: E-105/04.
         MANAGUA, Nicaragua- President Enrique Bolaños of Nicaragua today called for greater political will and moral
         commitment to step up international cooperation “to prevent our countries from becoming a sanctuary for
         corrupt individuals.”

         In opening the Meeting of States Parties to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, in Managua,
         the Nicaraguan President told delegates from the Organization of American States (OAS) treaty’s 31 ratifying
         states that the meeting would seek to give new impetus to “our commitment to promote and strengthen
         mechanisms to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption.”

         President Bolaños went on to declare that corruption remains “one of the major causes of poverty in our
         countries.” Not only do acts of corruption foster evil, Bolaños asserted, but they also hinder international
         cooperation and assistance and divert much-needed resources from job-creation.

         Meanwhile, OAS Secretary General César Gaviria stressed in his opening remarks that the conclusions of the
         conference would be an important step along the path “that we have been traveling in order to consolidate
         and strengthen joint efforts to tackle a critical problem in democratic governance, economic growth and social
         development in the Americas.”

         Warning that “corruption undermines the legitimacy of democracies,” the Secretary General cited a recent
         study revealing that barely 35 per cent of Latin Americans are satisfied with democracy. According to the
         study, 90 per cent believe corruption is worsening, and many view corruption as the biggest national problem.

         “Although the statistics also reveal that Latin Americans prefer democracy over any alternative, effectively
         combating the problem (of corruption) is undoubtedly a major challenge in consolidating democracy in the
         hemisphere,” Gaviria stated.

         The Secretary General commended Nicaragua for hosting the meeting, which he called “a renewed expression
         of support from the hemisphere’s nations for President Bolaños’ efforts to govern effectively, in keeping with
         the principles of the Democratic Charter.” He recalled a 2002 OAS Permanent Council resolution supporting
         the Nicaraguan government’s efforts to combat corruption.

         Before concluding tomorrow, the Meeting of States Parties to the Inter-American Convention against
         Corruption, being chaired by Nicaraguan Foreign Affaire Minister Norman Caldera Cardenal, is expected to
         approve a Plan of Action and a Declaration of Managua, for consideration at the Fourth Summit of the
         Americas next year.