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Peru, Colombia ink accords at first binational cabinet meeting

LIMA, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The first Peru-Colombia binational cabinet meeting concluded Tuesday with the signing of 11 accords between the neighboring South American nations, Peru's Andina news agency reported.

Touted as a "momentous and historic" step toward binational integration, the gathering opened earlier in the day in the northern Peruvian city of Iquitos, in the presence of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and their ministers.

Humala said the meeting served to "acknowledge the reality of the border communities, which for years have been helping each other, trading with each other and integrating."

The accords, mainly designed to improve the living conditions of those residing along the border, include cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding on housing, education, sports, energy, mining, environmental conservation and disaster management.

According to Humala, bilateral trade is at a peak, with Peruvian exports to Colombia amounting to 837 million U.S. dollars.

In addition to sharing a common border, both countries belong to the Community of Andean Nations and the Pacific Alliance trade bloc.

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