Belize attended the 49th Summit of Heads of Government and State of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in Costa Rica where leaders met to discuss regional cooperation, security and the continued strengthening of regional integration. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington, H.E. Alexis Rosado and Minister Counsellor Margaret Juan represented Belize. Hon. Elrington expressed concern that extra-regional challenges, such as the continued conflict in the Middle East and the recent United States policies on immigration and climate change, will have adverse effects on member states. He urged the region to address issues such as the widening poverty gap, employment opportunities and technological advances. He also urged the region to use its influence to reach out to the Venezuelan Government and opposition to find a solution to the internal challenges it faces. Heads elected former Guatemalan President Mr. Marco Vinicio Cerezo as the new Secretary General of SICA, and Honduran national Mr. Melvin Redondo as the new Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Central American Economic Integration (SIECA). Panama assumes the Presidency Pro Tempore of SICA for the period July to December 2017.