An “ad hoc” committee, made up of various countries, will advise the Government of Panama, host of the 2015 Seventh Summit of the Americas, regarding a possible invitation to Cuba to participate in the next triennial meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Hemisphere.
The decision was announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, Fernando Núñez Fábrega, during the meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG), held today in the framework of the forty-third regular session of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Antigua, Guatemala.
The group’s precise composition is yet to be determined, since it will be open to the participation of all member states.
Today’s SIRG meeting was the first held in anticipation of the Seventh Summit of the Americas, which, as decided by the OAS General Assembly last year, would take place in Panama. The Panamanian Foreign Minister reaffirmed the commitment of President Ricardo Martinelli’s government to the Summits process and invited the nations of the Hemisphere to come to his country “with the conviction that we are united by ties of solidarity that inspire us to continue moving forward toward the well-being of our peoples.”
The Panamanian minister assured those present that his country intended to steer the Summit deliberations in line with its views that it was “essential to engage in frank dialogue conducive to identifying concrete measures for continuing to gain strength as a region of opportunities and benefits for our partners both within and outside the region.”
Foreign Minister Núñez Fábrega concluded by saying: “I invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to work together to lay out the objectives of a region seeking to rise to the highest standards of economic development. We will devote the human and material resources necessary to ensure the success of the work of the 2015 Summit of the Americas.”
The OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, speaking on behalf of the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, called upon the countries to celebrate the fact that next year marked the 20th anniversary of the First Summit of the Americas, held in the United States in November 1994 and promoted by the then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who had initiated the Summits process.
During those two decades and during subsequent Summits, Ambassador Ramdin recalled, numerous initiatives emerged from these presidential meetings. He cited among them the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) for drugs, the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC), the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the Inter-American Social Protection Network, and the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas.
Assistant Secretary Ramdin highlighted the need to join forces to work toward funding and implementation of the Summit mandates, both nationally and subregionally. “During this preparatory stage,” he said, “it is critically important for member states to be fully involved in the process from an overall perspective.”
During the SIRG meeting, the new Executive Secretary of the Summits Secretariat, Alfonso Quiñonez, made a presentation on implementation and follow-up of the Summits process and especially on the mandates that emerged from the most recent regional meeting of Heads of State and Government, held last year in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
On the same occasion, Executive Secretary Quiñonez presented the book “Volume VI: Official Documents of the Summits of the Americas Process. From Port of Spain (2009) to Cartagena de Indias (2012)," a compilation of the official documents adopted by the states during the inter-American sectoral and ministerial meetings held between the Fifth and the Sixth Summit of the Americas. The text also contains the mandates and communiqués approved at the Sixth Summit of the Americas.
During the meeting, statements were made by the representatives of Colombia, the United States, Canada, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, who expressed their support to Panama as host of the next Summit, to the new Executive Secretary of the Summits Secretariat, and to the follow-up process as a whole. They all agreed on the need for countries to commit themselves fully to the Summit mandates and their implementation.
The SIRG meets at the ministerial level every year in the framework of the regular session of the General Assembly to address the matter of implementation and follow-up of the Summit mandates. The Summits Secretariat informs the states about progress made by the institutions of the Joint Summit Working Group (JSWG) in carrying out the mandates, and the states then then have the opportunity to address the plenary of the SIRG to share information on advances made at the national level in implementing the mandates of the Sixth Summit and earlier Summits.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The video of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org