Media Center



April 14, 2003 - WAshington, DC

As President George W. Bush has stated, "This hemisphere is on the path of reform, and our nations travel it together. We share a vision - a partnership of strong and equal and prosperous countries, living and trading in freedom. We'll maintain our vision, because it unleashes the possibilities of every society and recognizes the dignity of every person."

We can be proud that we have advanced that common vision in these Halls. We have taken steps that will help make lives better for the people we serve.

In just the last two years, we have worked as partners to approve the Inter-American Democratic Charter, a bold roadmap for promoting and defending democracy in the Hemisphere.

We negotiated and signed an Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, a legally-binding document which calls for coordinated action against terrorism by the states of the Americas.

We have revitalized the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism, engaging all of our neighbors in practical steps to fortify our Hemisphere against terrorism.

We have played an activist role in promoting democratic development in Venezuela and Haiti.

And we have bolstered OAS activities in key areas such as human rights, scholarships, conflict resolution, democracy-building and agricultural development.

Our work continues. We have laid the groundwork for a Hemispheric Security Conference, to be held in Mexico in early May, that will review the threats to our region and undertake new commitments to face them together.

The OAS General Assembly in June already promises to be a productive session in which we will recognize the inexorable link between good governance and economic growth.

This Assembly will help orient the work of our heads of government who have agreed to meet at an interim meeting later this year.

This is multilateralism that works for all of us. It works because of our common values and our mutual respect.

My friends, the Pan American spirit - which is the firm foundation of this grand old building - is alive and well in these halls.

It embraces countries large and small, who have an equal right to speak and to be heard. That is the essence of Pan American spirit.