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Concepts of security in the Hemisphere






OEA/Ser. G
25 January 2001
Original: Spanish/English




The Committee on Hemispheric Security held the Special meeting to discuss new approaches to hemispheric security, pursuant to mandates emanating from the Second Summit of the Americas and endorsed by the OAS General Assembly in AG/RES. 1566 (XXVIII-O/98), as follows:

Paragraph 15: “To instruct the Permanent Council, working through the Committee on Hemispheric Security, to:

a. Follow up on and expand topics related to the strengthening of confidence-and security-building measures;

b. Analyze the meaning, scope, and implications of international security concepts in the Hemisphere, with a view to developing the most appropriate common approaches by which to manage their various aspects, including disarmament and arms control; and

c. Identify ways to revitalize and strengthen agencies of the inter-American system related to the various aspects of hemispheric security.”

Paragraph 16: “To hold the Special Conference on Security once the tasks envisaged in the previous paragraph have been completed.”

These mandates have been reiterated in subsequent General Assembly resolutions, and the Committee has been instructed to hold special meetings to deal with these issues, as is stated in the General Assembly resolution AG/RES. 1744 (XXX-O/00):

Paragraph 3: “To request the Permanent Council to hold, through the Committee on hemispheric Security, a special meeting with the participation of experts from member states to continue discussing the most appropriate common approaches with which to manage the various aspects of international security in the Hemisphere.”

The Committee accordingly held two such special meetings –one in April 1999 and one in March 2000, and decided to hold a third on November 13 and 14, 2000. The Committee therefore prepared the draft Agenda (CP/CSH-321/00 rev. 2) and government experts were invited to participate. The Chair also prepared an Annotated Agenda (CP/CSH-328/00).


The opening session was held from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 13th. The First Vice-Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Luis Lauredo, Permanent Representative of the United States was elected Rapporteur of the special meeting.

The OAS Secretary General, Dr. Cesar Gaviria, delivered a statement covering the wide range of security-related issues confronting the Hemisphere and the work done by the OAS and the Committee on Hemispheric Security to address these in accordance with the General Assembly mandates.

The Committee Chair, Ambassador Marcelo Ostria Trigo, Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the OAS, explained the methodology to be followed in this meeting, noting in particular the presence of the Chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB), Major General Carl Freeman and the representative of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs, Dr. Luis Jimenez, to assist the Committee during these deliberations. The Chair gave an overview of the topic, recalling the origin of the mandates to be discussed during this meeting and offering some reflections on the work entrusted to the Committee. In this context, the Chair noted that the Committee has held two special meetings to date in furtherance of these mandates –in April 1999 and March 2000 –and that in these meetings Member States have put forward in general terms ideas with respect to the new perceptions of security.

Ambassador Walter Pecly Moreira, Permanent Representative of Brazil delivered a statement on the topics discussed at the Fourth Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, held in Manaus, Brazil in October 2000, making specific reference to the recognition given during that Conference to the OAS and the Committee on Hemispheric Security.

Also attending this opening session were the Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Luigi Einaudi, and the Chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board, Major General Carl Freeman.

The delegations of the Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States commented on the presentations and delivered general statements. The delegation of Canada circulated a paper on aspects of hemispheric security. The delegation of the United States also made available two books related to confidence- and security-building measures and world military expenditures and arms transfers. On the following day, the position paper of the delegation of Brazil was also circulated.

On November 14th, the special meeting opened at 10:00 a.m. to consider the items on the agenda:

1. Evaluation and identification of ways to revitalize and strengthen the institutions of the inter-American system involved in the various aspects of security; and

2. Analysis of the most appropriate common approaches used to address the various aspects of international security in the Hemisphere.

The delegations of Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, United States, and Venezuela made statements with respect to item two and also commented on the following institutions and mechanisms: IADB, Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), the American Treaty of Pacific Settlement of Disputes (Pact of Bogota), the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, the Charters of the OAS and the United Nations, and the OAS itself, including the Committee on Hemispheric Security. The delegation of Antigua and Barbuda also put forward a proposal that the Inter-American Development Bank be included in this discussion. A wide range of proposals were put forward with respect to both agenda items.

The Chairman of the IADB delivered a brief statement on the Board’s role in the new security environment and suggested that it could be revitalized to make its membership more inclusive and its functions more relevant to members’ needs. During the discussions that followed, Major General Freeman and Dr. Jimenez responded to a number of questions from delegations.

Comments by delegations on the IADB touched on membership, relevance and modernization.

Comments by delegations with respect to the TIAR and the Pact of Bogota similarly addressed their relevance and membership.

Comments by delegations with respect to the OAS and the CSH touched on the authority and capacity of these bodies to deal with the hemispheric security agenda.

The Committee considered next steps, and decided to develop a questionnaire to solicit Member States’ views on issues related to hemispheric security and the future Special Conference on Security. The delegations of Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States intervened on this point.

The Committee Chair requested that delegations make available copies of their interventions for the record of the meeting.

November 14, 2000

Ambassador Luis J. Lauredo Rapporteur



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