The Permanent Representative of Panama to the Organization of American States (OAS), Arturo Vallarino, today assumed the Chair of the Permanent Council of the hemispheric institution referring to the importance of continuing the fight to guarantee the rights of all the citizens of the Americas.
Upon receiving the gavel that represents the Council's authority from his predecessor and the Permanent Representative of Nicaragua, Denis Moncada, Ambassador Vallarino stressed that "it is an honor for my country to contribute to the efficiency of this organization through this position that we will assume for the next three months." The Panamanian diplomat, who recently assumed his position as representative, added that the priority issues that the Council will have on its agenda include the preparations for the 43rd OAS General Assembly to be held in June in Guatemala, continuing efforts to develop the vision of the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, on the future of the OAS, and analysis of the institution’s pending mandates, among other issues.
"During the period of the chairmanship of Panama we will have to pay special attention to the issue of hemispheric security, both in terms of the prevention of crime and violence and natural disasters. This has a special meaning in the context of the theme chosen by Guatemala, host of the General Assembly,in relation to violence and drugs in our hemisphere," said Ambassador Vallarino.
For his part, the Ambassador of Nicaragua, Denis Moncada, highlighted the "broad experience" of the incoming Chair in the fields of government and diplomacy, "which tells us that the Council will be in excellent hands, guided in the right direction, with successful leadership."
The Nicaraguan representative mentioned the heterogeneous nature of the countries that make up the Council and added that this feature is what "makes possible dialogue and debate to allow us to approach agreements and arrangements within the differences of opinion." In his parting words, he congratulated the "efficient work and spirit of cooperation in the work of the General Secretariat of the OAS."
The handover event was attended by Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, and several Permanent Representatives of the member countries, as well as the Ambassador of Panama to the White House, Mario Jaramillo.
The Permanent Council’s statutes establish that the chairmanship be exercised by each of the Permanent Representatives in turn, following the alphabetic order in Spanish of the names of their respective countries, and the office of Vice-Chair, by identical standards, following reverse alphabetical order. For the next three months, the Vice Chair of the Council will be in charge of the Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador Deborah Mae Lovell.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.