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El Salvador's President Reaffirms Decision to Support Coalition Forces in Iraq

Washington, D.C., July 13, 2004 - The president of El Salvador, Elías Antonio Saca, told the Voice of America today that his country's latest troop deployment to Iraq is an attempt to help restore tranquility to that country.

During his visit to VOA, he said, "Today more than ever, especially with a newly installed government in Iraq, I will send a third contingent of Salvadoran soldiers to collaborate in the transition towards normalcy and pacification in Iraq."

President Saca visited the White House Monday. He told VOA that he discussed several bilateral issues with President Bush. One was the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the United States. President Saca said, "I think the opportunity for trade and for investment and the opportunity to export to the United States without having to pay taxes is an great occasion that can generate much employment in our region."

President Saca also said he found a willingness from President Bush to address the situation of the almost 250,000 Salvadorans who are seeking shelter in the United States under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) which will expire on March 9, 2005. He said, "President Bush knows that El Salvador is in need of the TPS. The President knows that the conditions caused by the earthquakes that created the need still persist. I believe we are on the right track and, from what I managed to perceive from our meeting, that the TPS will be renewed."

Excerpts of the interview will broadcast on Desde Washington and the interview will run in its entirety on Friday's Foro Interamericano. Desde Washington is a new five-minute weekday Spanish-language television news broadcast for Latin America and joins the long-established Foro Interamericano, a weekly journalist discussion program, in presenting news and public affairs on television for Latin America.

VOA also airs two hours of Spanish-language programming daily on shortwave, as well as a half-hour midday newscast and hourly news updates for affiliates weekdays via digital audio satellite. Programs are available live and on demand at their web page

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. VOA broadcasts almost 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of 87 million people. Programs are produced in Spanish and 43 other languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 401-7000, or E-mail