July 25, 2001
CANADA'S DEPARTING AMBASSADOR URGES OAS TO FOCUS MORE ON DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND DISPUTE-RESOLUTION ISSUES
As Canada's Permanent Representative, Ambassador Peter M. Boehm, bade farewell today to his diplomatic colleagues at the Organization of American States, he challenged the hemispheric body to give stronger emphasis to political, democracy, human rights, juridical as well as dispute and post-conflict resolution issues.
The departing Canadian diplomat was given a prolonged standing ovation after he delivered his final address to the Permanent Council, explaining that it was precisely in those areas he cited that the OAS "produces its 'value added' and what our citizens should recognize as its central mission."
He pointed out, however, that "increased specialization in these areas will need to be accompanied by a conscious decision to realign other programs in a manner consonant with both the Organizations resource structure and Summit mandates. This will be essential as we prepare and plan a Free Trade Area of the Americas."
Wrapping up some four years representing his country at the OAS, Ambassador Boehm urged the Organization to also "ensure that it is and remains the key vehicle for the implementation of Summit [of the Americas] mandates" and stressed that Canada's commitment to the ideal of a closer community of the Americas has been "total and profound."
The Permanent Council's Chairman, Costa Rican Ambassador Hernán R. Castro, led off the farewell tributes to the Canadian Ambassador, noting that Boehm would always be remembered as a great colleague, friend and outstanding diplomat. Several of the member state Ambassadors joined in with glowing, including Ambassador Joshua Sears of The Bahamas, speaking for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states, singled out Boehm's work as Canada hosted the OAS General Assembly last year.
On behalf of the Latin American Integration countries, Paraguay's Ambassador Diego Abente Brun praised the Canadian diplomat's contribution to the OAS and his leadership of the Permanent Council and the Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management.
Adding his remarks, Secretary General César Gaviria hailed Boehm as the "representative of a policy that has benefited the Organization and the inter-American system as a whole."