Relations with Permanent Observers

The status of Permanent Observer to the Organization of American States was established by the General Assembly at its first regular session, held in San José, Costa Rica, in 1971 [AG/RES. 50 (I-O/71)]. Permanent observers participate in the Organization’s activities and contribute to its programs.

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December 2, 2014 - THE NETHERLANDS EXPANDS CONTRIBUTION TO THE OAS MISSION TO SUPPORT THE PEACE PROCESS IN COLOMBIA

"The Rights of Victims of Terrorism" was the theme of the 63rd Policy Roundtable of the Organization of American States (OAS), held on Monday afternoon at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC.

The OAS today signed an agreement with the Netherlands through which the European country will expand its contribution to the Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP/OAS) in Colombia, which accompanies the country in a verification and advisory role during the process of demobilization and reintegration of illegal armed groups, and supports peace efforts.
 
The document signed sets out an increase of 650,000 dollars in the Dutch contribution to the MAPP, which brings the total contribution since the beginning of the program in 2004 to approximately 14 million dollars. During the signing ceremony, Secretary General Insulza highlighted the importance of the contribution, recalling that “the Kingdom of the Netherlands has supported this Mission since its beginning in 2004, not only has it supported us in times when we were working full speed on all the issues of verification and settlement of displaced persons, but also in moments that were quite difficult.”
 
Secretary General Insulza highlighted that the importance of the contribution lies not only “in the 14 million we have received from the Netherlands, but also in the political support on this issue, which has made a great difference,” and expressed his desire to “continue counting on you.” The OAS leader recognized that “we are approaching some of the most crucial parts of the process,” but the most important issue, he said “is that we will have peace in Colombia and that we will be there from the beginning.”
 
For her part, the Charge d’Affaires and Alternate Observer of the Netherlands to the OAS, Joanneke Balfoort, expressed the satisfaction of her country with the agreement, and said “our Minister for Development Cooperation went to Colombia recently and she spoke to everyone there and decided it was very important to continue our support for this important issue, and we hope that we can assist the peace process by continuing our support. We have supported the program for some time now and we will continue to do so.”
 
The Netherlands, Observer to the OAS since 1972, is one of the most important overall donors to the Organization, with 32 million dollars in contributions since 1999, more than half of which came in the last five years. Also present at the signing ceremony were the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OAS, Andrés González Diaz; the Chief of Staff of the Secretary General, Hugo De Zela; the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez; and the Director of the Department of Sustainable Democracy and Special Missions of the OAS, Christopher Hernández-Roy, among others.
 
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November 11, 2014 - OAS AND PERMANENT OBSERVER MISSION OF SPAIN TO THE OAS HOST POLICY ROUNDTABLE ON THE RIGHTS OF VICTIMS OF TERRORISM

"The Rights of Victims of Terrorism" was the theme of the 63rd Policy Roundtable of the Organization of American States (OAS), held on Monday afternoon at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC.
 
The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, who opened the event, said that terrorism is a serious threat to peace and security in the region, which "puts in jeopardy the rule of law, and even threatens democracy and people’s development." He added that “it is one of the main problems for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as it affects the right to life, liberty, and the physical and mental integrity of direct and indirect victims.” Secretary General Insulza recalled that the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism was not approved as a reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 against New York and Washington, DC, but that the approval process began seven years before, following the vicious attack against the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1994.
 
The Secretary General noted that internationally there is no clear guidance on the meaning and scope of the concept of victims of terrorism. "In Europe, there have been increased efforts to make victims visible, mobilizing government sectors and civil society, while in Latin America the various norms still seem closely tied to criminal and procedural rules on the matter, but do not address the consequence of terrorist acts from the perspective of the victims, which we believe is essential," he said. In this regard, he emphasized the leadership role that Spain has played with the adoption in 1999 of the Act of Solidarity with the Victims of Terrorism, up to the current law recognizing victims passed in 2011.
 
Following the opening remarks by the Secretary General, the Policy Roundtable featured a panel of experts to discuss their respective experiences on the subject.  The panel was moderated by the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the OAS, Neil Klopfenstein, and included the participation of Ambassador Juan Jimenez, Permanent Representative of Peru to the OAS; Heather Cartwright, Director of the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism of the United States Department of Justice; Sonia Ramos, Director General of Support for Victims of Terrorism of the Interior Ministry of Spain; and Ambassador Javier Rupérez, first Executive Director of the Committee against Terrorism of the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
 
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Jorge Hevia, noted the evidence that this issue still has complications to resolve, which in the case of his country were overcome, and reviewed the main ideas of the panelists about the need to maintain memory, that the victims suffer violation of human rights and are symbols of a whole society that has been attacked.
 
The 63rd Roundtable was organized by the OAS Secretariat for External Relations, CICTE and the Observer Mission of Spain to the OAS. After the Roundtable, the photo exhibition "En pie de Foto, Victimas del Terrorismo" was opened at the Art Museum of the Americas, which is located in Annex to the OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.
 
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November 5, 2014 - OAS AND GERMANY SIGN AGREEMENT TO SUPPORT THE MISSION TO SUPPORT THE PEACE PROCESS IN COLOMBIA

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Government of Germany signed a cooperation agreement by which the European country will increase its support for the activities of the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS) with a contribution of 450,000 euros.
 
This important contribution is just the latest of several made by the German government to the Mission since 2008. These resources will go to support the tasks of monitoring and accompaniment of the Mission to the various peace building programs in Colombia.
 
The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, expressed his gratitude for the trust and support of the German government in the Organization and its activities. “With cooperation agreements like this one, the Organization of American States and Germany make an important contribution to the peace process and to the building of an environment favorable to the post-conflict stage, based on the restauration of the social fabric, justice, guarantees of non-repetition, and integral reparations for victims,” added the leader of the hemispheric institution.

November 4, 2014 - OAS AND ADA UNIVERSITY OF AZERBAIJAN SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT ON EDUCATION AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

The General Secretariat of the OAS signed an agreement with ADA University of Azerbaijan that seeks to strengthen education and human development in the Americas and in Azerbaijan through scholarship programs, the exchange of students and teachers between the ADA University and universities in the OAS member states, and participation in research projects, conferences and cultural programs.
 
The document was signed by the OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development, Sherry Tross, on behalf of the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and the Rector of ADA University, Ambassador Hafiz Pashayev, at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.  The OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez expressed the importance the Organization assigns to this type of agreements "as they provide a framework for cooperation and coordination of activities with clear priorities and focused on goals." The agreement with the educational institution in Azerbaijan, he said, "increases the linkages and further understanding between our peoples" and "is part of the importance we place on our relationships with observer countries, given the richness that their perspective brings to the Inter-American agenda."
 
For his part, Ambassador Pashayev recalled the importance his country attaches to its relations with the countries of the Americas and highlighted the international vision that characterizes the institution he leads. "We are an educational entity that seeks to provide a broad cultural wealth accomplished through the participation of students from various countries. This agreement represents an opportunity to attract more students from this part of the world and to let us be known as an institution dedicated to preparing innovative leaders and promoting useful and collaborative research."
 
The OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development, Sherry Tross, welcomed the opportunity to work more closely with the university of the Eurasian country "to offer opportunities for students across the Americas to improve their lives and their environment." She recalled that the OAS "sees human development and education as absolutely central components for sustainable and inclusive development to be able to transform a large number of our citizens." Cooperation is central to achieving the objectives of the OAS, she added, because "to the extent that we have partners, not only in the Americas but also outside, that are aligned with us in terms of the goals and objectives, that will give us the power to multiply the impact and reach more people, which is an asset for us, for you and for the people of our region," she said.
 
Located in Baku, ADA University began as the training institute to meet the needs of the Foreign Service of Azerbaijan and later became an educational center with several schools offering both graduate and undergraduate degree programs.

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November 3, 2014 - OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE TRAINING DEPARTMENT OF ISRAEL’S AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met with the Director of Training Department of Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV), Ambassador Mattanya Cohen, with whom he discussed possible ways to expand cooperation between the country and the hemispheric Organization.
 
At the meeting, the two reviewed the priority issues for the OAS and to which Israel, under its triennial international cooperation policies, can significantly contribute. As part of the meeting, Ambassador Mattanya reiterated his country's commitment to the mission and work of the OAS and to Latin America and the Caribbean, and reaffirmed his commitment to continue supporting the institution on issues related to education, democracy, security, development, entrepreneurship and electoral observation. The two officials also discussed the possibility of using forums such as the Pacific Alliance, where Israel was recently accepted as an observer country, as platforms to continue strengthening ties with the countries of the Hemisphere, specifically in the economic and trade fields.
 
Israel was among the first countries to become an observer to the OAS in 1972, and has since supported the Organization's programs related to capacity building, early education, environment, employment, gender equality, peace and electoral observation missions, youth entrepreneurship and anti-terrorism efforts, among other areas.

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October 29, 2014 - PERMANENT OBSERVER OF RUSSIA TO THE OAS HOSTS RECEPTION IN HONOR OF SECRETARY GENERAL

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Permanent Observer of the Russian Federation to the OAS, hosted a reception in honor of the Secretary General of the OAS, Jose Miguel Insulza, at the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
 
In his remarks, Secretary General Insulza reflected on what he considers to be the Organization’s most notable accomplishments during his administration since 2005, highlighting the OAS’ success in strengthening the role of democracy in member states and providing the major multilateral forum for political dialogue that incorporates the entire Hemisphere. Secretary General Insulza also mentioned the Organization’s success in raising and addressing the global drug problem in the Americas and providing a platform for resolving conflicts between and within the Member States.
 
Various Permanent Representatives of the OAS member states, Permanent Observers and OAS officials attended the reception.

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October 20, 2014 - OAS AND ESTONIA SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT ON CYBER SECURITY

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the government of Estonia signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the development of cyber security capabilities in the Americas, and to increase collaboration between the hemispheric institution and the Eastern European country on the issue.
 
The Secretary for Multidimensional Security of the OAS, Adam Blackwell, who signed on behalf of the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the importance of the agreement, saying it gives the Organization the opportunity to share experiences with Estonia on cyber security. Ambassador Blackwell said, despite the distance of Estonia from the Americas, “we firmly believe that in this hyper-connected globalized world, it is absolutely fundamental to reach agreements with countries like Estonia, who have great experience on the issue of cyber security.”
 
Following the signing of the document by the Director of Cyber Security of the Government of Estonia, Toomas Vaks, representing his country, the Permanent Observer of Estonia to the OAS and Ambassador to the White House, Eerik Marmei, said the agreement falls in the framework of the efforts of his country to achieve the most significant answers to the problems of cyber security, in order to improve the lives of its people. In this sense, he said it is a good sign that “people from different countries, from different continents, can work together for the benefit of all.”
 
The Chief of Crisis Management of Estonia, Lauri Luht, recalled that his country has worked with the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the OAS previously on issues related to cyber security through Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs), in Colombia, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago, and announced that it soon will do the same in Jamaica.
 
The implementation of the agreement by the Estonian side will be in charge of the Information System Authority of Estonia, which coordinates the development and administration of Estonia’s information system, organizes activities related to information security, and handles the security incidents that have occurred in Estonian computer networks.

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October 16, 2014 - OAS AND SPAIN RENEW COOPERATION PARTNERSHIP IN VARIOUS FIELDS

In a ceremony held at OAS headquarters in Washington DC, the Secretary General of the Organization, José Miguel Insulza, and the Secretary General of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), Gonzalo Robles, signed the minutes of the Joint Committee of the Spanish Fund for the OAS, through which the European country donated more than $ 3.5 million.
 
Secretary General Insulza highlighted the commitment of Spain to the hemispheric institution, noting that over the last decade it has become the Permanent Observer which has donated the most funds. "For the OAS, the Spanish Fund has been a major contribution of resources to fulfill its mandates and achieve its objectives, which has contributed to the development of nearly one hundred projects between 2006 and 2013 in central and strategic areas for the Organization such as crisis prevention and peace building, protection of human rights, support for the development of fully democratic electoral systems, and legal and judicial development," he said.
 
The OAS leader highlighted "the fact that with this agreement, it will continue to maintain support for fields and lines of action that were already being supported, which have proved successful , and on which the strategic interests of the OAS and Spanish cooperation converge."
 
For his part, Secretary General Robles said the OAS is a "strategic partner" for Spain in its projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. "With this signature, we wanted to renew support for all the projects and programs on which Spain has been working," said Secretary General Robles, adding that his government is carefully implementing and supporting projects where "we think it is worth making an effort." Robles said that after three years of economic difficulties in his country, AECID has returned this year with greater resources and increased its budget to support the OAS. "Our commitment is structural rather than cyclical, and we want to continue to help strengthen this Organization because Latin America and the Caribbean is one of our priorities," he added.
 
The funds will benefit projects related to following areas: the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia; implementation of measures to promote trust between Belize and Guatemala; capacity building of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; promotion of the standards of the Inter-American Human Rights System; and development of the Program of Judicial Facilitators. In addition, funds will be used for the Universal Civil Identity Project of the Americas (PUICA); for Citizen Security, to strengthen public institutions responsible for public safety and crime prevention; the Continuous Reporting System on International Migration in the Americas (SICREMI); Electoral Observation Missions; and the Art Museum of the Americas.
 
The signing ceremony was attended by the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin; the Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Jorge Hevia; the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez; and the OAS Director of the Coordinating Office for the Offices of the General Secretariat in the Member States, Ricardo Dominguez.

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October 16, 2014 - OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES THE PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THE HOLY SEE

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, received in his office the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the hemispheric body, Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza, with whom he discussed issues of security, development, the environment and democracy in the Hemisphere.
 
During the meeting, Secretary General Insulza presented his perspective on the major challenges facing the region in terms of security, the fight against crime and climate change, with special emphasis on the recent meetings of the post-2015 agenda and the discussions held in the framework of the United Nations General Assembly that took place in September in New York. Another theme of the meeting was the situation in Haiti and aspects related to its demography, migration, legislation, elections, reconstruction efforts after the earthquake, and relations with the Dominican Republic. Both agreed on the importance of continuing international efforts in that country with a view to self-sufficiency, especially in the context of the support provided by MINUSTAH.
 
The Holy See has been an observer to the OAS since 1978 and has supported its work in the areas of democratic sustainability, peace processes, security and disarmament. Archbishop Auza also serves as the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

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October 14, 2014 - OAS AND FRANCE HOLD LECTURE SERIES TO EXAMINE UNIVERSAL ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY

The Organization of American States (OAS), with the support of the Permanent Observer Mission of France to the OAS, held the 56 Lecture of the Americas, entitled “Reflections on the Abolition of the Death Penalty”, as part of the commemoration of the International Day Against this punishment on October 10.
 
The event was opened by the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, and featured a keynote address by the President of the International Institute of Human Rights and former President of the European Court of Human Rights, Judge Jean-Paul Costa. Following the presentation, the Assistant Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, and the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the OAS, Ambassador Pablo Barahona, offered comments on the topics and shared the experiences of the IACHR and Costa Rica, respectively.  The Lecture was moderated by the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñonez.
 
At the conclusion of the event, the Permanent Observer of France to the OAS, Jean-Claude Nolla, offered appreciative words to the presenters and examined the relationship between the death penalty, human rights and democracy. "The vast majority of international texts mark a separation between the death penalty and human rights," he said, recalling that in many countries in Europe and America it is described as "cruel and inhuman." He also analyzed the three arguments that support abolition "the judicial error that kills the innocent, the ineffectiveness of the death penalty and the idea of the integrity of the human person that does not seem to be compatible with the penalty itself" and commented in this regard that "all the arguments are valid." Finally, he urged the OAS member countries to act as an institution, delivering a united message for the abolition of the death penalty.

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October 9, 2014 - OAS CELEBRATES SPECIAL PERMANENT COUNCIL TO COMMEMORATE THE "MEETING OF TWO WORLDS" BETWEEN EUROPE AND THE AMERICAS

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) held a special meeting to commemorate the "Meeting of Two Worlds," as a new anniversary approaches of the arrival of the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus to the Americas.
 
During the meeting, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, the Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the OAS, La Celia A. Prince, recalled that the meeting of two worlds forever changed the way of life of the inhabitants of both. "It was here that Europe and America began a joint history, bringing about a fusion and eventual transformation of our entire planet," said Ambassador Prince. The Caribbean diplomat added that "today we, the people of the Americas remember the fearless and determined spirit of our native indigenous peoples, coupled with the enterprising spirit of the adventurous European explorers who dared to adventure beyond their horizons and beyond acceptable schools of thought to find knowledge and wealth. And this is courageous spirit and determination that continues to define our Hemisphere as it’s now and forever a partner with the rest of the globe."
 
For his part, the Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Jorge Hevia, said the Hispanic identity, as well as the Spanish language, is larger today in the Americas than in Europe and reviewed the cultural and political links that bind the two. He said America and Europe "are inspired by the same values of freedom, democracy and human rights systems; they are universal values that we share with particular intensity, so the political alliance between Europe and the Americas is key to the future global order we are building together."

 The Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, Deborah-Mae Lovell, on behalf of the Caricom countries recommended completion of the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with a recognition of the significance of the demographic shift that came with the arrival of the conquerors, which implied the disappearance of the majority of the original population and the arrival of millions of people brought from Africa as slaves.
 
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October 3, 2014 - OAS SIGNS MEMORANDUM WITH CONSUMER AGENCY OF CATALONIA, SPAIN

The OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, said that the signing of this instrument formalizes the "rich collaboration" that the hemispheric institution has had for several years with the Catalan Agency, and other national and regional organizations from Spain in the area of consumer protection. Secretary General Insulza recalled that the agreement is made through the Consumer Safety and Health Network (RCSS) whose operation "was regulated with the full consensus by the General Assembly of Asunción” that the OAS held in June.

"The Agency has also supported other technical cooperation and collaboration activities. For instance, it contributed to the International Seminar on Product Safety, with an emphasis on products for children, held in Lima in 2013, and to the Seminar on Damage Repair for Defective Products held in Bogotá in 2011," said Secretary General Insulza. More recently, he continued, in July 2014, "the Director of the Catalan Agency participated in the regional workshop on the Substantive and Procedural Aspects of the Inter-American Rapid Alert System, with an emphasis on Risk Evaluation held at the OAS headquarters, sharing thus the rich experience of Catalonia and Spain in the European Warning System known as 'RAPEX'."

The Director of the Catalan Consumer Agency, Alfons Conesa i Badiella, underlined the importance of the agreement, because its ultimate goal is to protect the rights of individuals. In this regard, he explained that it specifically aims to defend the rights to "health, safety, economic interests, training, education and information, which are often unknown and which we must disseminate, and to educate consumers so they know and demand at any time that these rights be fulfilled."

The Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Jorge Hevia, stressed the importance of the agreement, noting that it is part of other agreements signed in this field between his country’s administrations and the hemispheric institution. Ambassador Hevia highlighted Spain’s efforts to cooperate with the OAS, noting that cooperation takes place with the central administration, the autonomous administration, academia and civil society. The Spanish diplomat recalled that “not long ago an agreement with the Spanish Consumer Agency was signed; today an agreement with the Catalan Agency is signed, and soon we will sign an agreement with the University of Cantabria."

The signing ceremony held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, was attended by the Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, La Celia A. Prince, and the Director of the Consumer Safety and Health Network, Evelyn Jacir.
 
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September 30, 2014 - AMBASSADOR OF FINLAND TO CARICOM AND OECS AND SENIOR ADVISOR FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN MEETS WITH OAS OFFICIALS

Mr. Kim Luotonen, Ambassador of Finland to CARICOM and OECS and Senior Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, visited the Headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), and met with officials of the General Secretariat to discuss the work of the Organization in the region and areas of common interest with Finland.
 
The Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, welcomed the representative of Finland and thanked him for the ongoing support from the Finnish Government to OAS priority programs in recent years, especially in the areas of human rights, freedom of expression, integral development, electoral cooperation and the rights of women. The representatives of the OAS and Finland also discussed the general situation in the Americas, the priorities of the hemispheric Organization and the Finnish Government, the VII Summit of the Americas, and potential areas for future cooperation.  The Director of the Department of International Affairs, Mr. Jorge Sanin, was also present in the meeting.

Later, the Special Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and representatives of the OAS Secretariat for Multidimensional Security received Ambassador Luotonen to discuss the importance of Finland’s support of approximately US$1,166,160 from 2012 to 2014 to the Special Rapporteurship on Freedom of Expression, as well as OAS programs in the Caribbean to strengthen public security and fight against drug trafficking.

September 23, 2014 - OAS  AND EUROPEAN UNION SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT ON CONFLICT ANALYSIS, EARLY WARNING AND CRISIS RESPONSE

The Organization of American States and the European Union signed a cooperation agreement on issues of conflict analysis, early warning and crisis response, in a ceremony that took place at the headquarters of the Pan-American institution in Washington, DC.

The Secretary for Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora, called the document “an important expression of the political will to deepen the relationship between the OAS and the European External Action Service on issues such as conflict analysis, early warning and crisis response.” With the new agreement, said Secretary Casas-Zamora, “We look forward to jointly develop a training framework to strengthen our human resources, promote exchanges in fora where conceptual frameworks, tools and best practices are discussed, consolidate institutional communication channels to enhance the exchange of information and assessments, and advance our collaboration with the joint research center focusing on the early warning component of our system for political and perspective analysis.”

The Managing Director for Crisis Response and Operational Coordination of the European External Action Service, Agostino Miozzo, who signed on behalf of the EU, called his participation in the act “a great honor.” “This document represents our common will opening the way to use our respective knowledge and experience in the field of conflict analysis, situational awareness, and crisis response for an interactive cooperation based on shared information, best practices, and greater coordination,” he said.

For his part, the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez, highlighted the good relationship between the two organizations, in particular since the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2009. In terms of the agreement signed today, Ambassador Quiñonez emphasized that “institutionalizes formal and regular bilateral consultative meetings on policy issues, engagement in ongoing consultations and reciprocal sharing of information, and the exchange of experiences and best practices.” In addition, Secretary Quiñonez called the cooperation between the OAS and the EU “multifaceted,” and said it includes political dialogue, as well as technical and financial cooperation.” Since 1989, said the OAS official, the EU has contributed $17.5 million to support programs of the Organization in the areas of human rights, electoral cooperation, de-mining, drug treatment, sustainable development, and conflict resolution, among others. 
 
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June 3, 2014 - OAS AND EUROPEAN UNION SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT ON CONFLICT ANALYSIS, EARLY WARNING AND CRISIS RESPONSE

The Organization of American States and the European Union signed a cooperation agreement on issues of conflict analysis, early warning and crisis response, in a ceremony that took place at the headquarters of the Pan-American institution in Washington, DC.

The Secretary for Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora, called the document “an important expression of the political will to deepen the relationship between the OAS and the European External Action Service on issues such as conflict analysis, early warning and crisis response.” With the new agreement, said Secretary Casas-Zamora, “We look forward to jointly develop a training framework to strengthen our human resources, promote exchanges in fora where conceptual frameworks, tools and best practices are discussed, consolidate institutional communication channels to enhance the exchange of information and assessments, and advance our collaboration with the joint research center focusing on the early warning component of our system for political and perspective analysis.”

The Managing Director for Crisis Response and Operational Coordination of the European External Action Service, Agostino Miozzo, who signed on behalf of the EU, called his participation in the act “a great honor.” “This document represents our common will opening the way to use our respective knowledge and experience in the field of conflict analysis, situational awareness, and crisis response for an interactive cooperation based on shared information, best practices, and greater coordination,” he said.

For his part, the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez, highlighted the good relationship between the two organizations, in particular since the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2009. In terms of the agreement signed today, Ambassador Quiñonez emphasized that “institutionalizes formal and regular bilateral consultative meetings on policy issues, engagement in ongoing consultations and reciprocal sharing of information, and the exchange of experiences and best practices.” In addition, Secretary Quiñonez called the cooperation between the OAS and the EU “multifaceted,” and said it includes political dialogue, as well as technical and financial cooperation.” Since 1989, said the OAS official, the EU has contributed $17.5 million to support programs of the Organization in the areas of human rights, electoral cooperation, de-mining, drug treatment, sustainable development, and conflict resolution, among others. 
 
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June 3, 2014 - OAS SECRETARY GENERAL AND PARAGUAY’S FOREIGN MINISTER MEET WITH PERMANENT OBSERVERS DURING THE 44TH OAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Minister of Foreign Relations of Paraguay, Eladio Loizaga, met today with the Permanent Observers to the OAS, in the framework of the forty-fourth regular session of the OAS General Assembly in Asunción, Paraguay.

In his welcoming remarks at the luncheon, Secretary General Insulza underscored the important role played by the Permanent Observers in support of the Organization’s work on its four pillars: democracy, human rights, development, and multidimensional security.

In particular, he stressed their contributions to the Electoral Observation Missions, the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia, the Universal Civil Identity Program in the Americas (PUICA), and the program of judicial facilitators, among others.

Foreign Minister Loizaga thanked the member countries for their support for the core topic selected by Paraguay for the session, “Development with Social Inclusion,” an area that required the work of all member countries and of the General Secretariat. Minster Loizaga emphasized that, in the preparations for the session, his country had received many good contributions to the questions on how to achieve sustainable development, and they would help in finding solutions to that challenge.

At the OAS there are currently 69 countries and the European Union with the status of Permanent Observer, which was created in 1972. The following Observers attended the meeting: Austria, Belgium, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, the European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, the Holy See, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, South Korea, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

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June 3, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL AND DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER OF KAZAKHSTAN MEET DURING THE 44TH OAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN PARAGUAY

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today welcomed the Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Yerzhan Ashikbaye, to his office set up in Asuncion, Paraguay, for the 44th OAS General Assembly.

During the meeting, Deputy Minister Ashikbaye highlighted his country’s relationship with different countries in the hemisphere, noting that they have key issues in common. Secretary General Insulza and Deputy Foreign Minister Ashikbaye exchanged notes during the meeting, formalizing an agreement through which the Government of Kazakhstan commits to contributing $50,000 per year from 2014 to 2016 to the OAS to support priority programs in the areas of integral development, governance and the rights of women and children.

Others attending the meeting included the Permanent Observer of Kazakhstan to the OAS, Ambassador Kairat Umarov, who also serves as his country’s Ambassador to the United States; the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Brazil, Bakytzhan Ordabaye; and the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñónez.

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June 3, 2014 - OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH PERMANENT OBSERVER OF CHINA

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met with the Permanent Observer of China to the OAS, Ambassador Cui Tiankai, in the Secretary General’s office at the convention center in Asunción, Paraguay, where the 44th OAS General Assembly begins today.

During the meeting, the representative of China noted the importance of the General Assembly as a direct response to the need for dialogue and integration among the peoples of the hemisphere.

In addition to marking the 10th anniversary of China’s status as an observer country to the OAS, Ambassador Tiankei presented the Secretary General with a contribution to help fund infrastructure improvements at the OAS and support OAS priority programs in the areas of higher education and sustainable development. The OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñónez, also participated in the meeting.

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June 3, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES VISIT FROM EUROPEAN UNION REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE AMERICAS

 The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met today with the Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service, Cristian Leffler, in the Secretary General’s office at the 44th OAS General Assembly, which opens today in Asunción, Paraguay.

Secretary General Insulza and Director Leffler discussed the importance of linking issues related to inclusion, security, and democracy with the creation of state public policies designed to improve living conditions for the people of the Americas. They also agreed on the importance that the various multinational agencies are in sync when it comes to their concern over the issue of “Development with Social Inclusion,” the central theme of the General Assembly.

Present at the meeting was also Alessandro Palermo, Head of the EU delegation to Paraguay and the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñónez.

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June 2, 2014 – MESSAGE FROM THE OAS SECRETARY GENERAL ON THE ABDICATION OF KING JUAN CARLOS OF SPAIN

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today praised King Juan Carlos of Spain for the role he played in a key phase of Spanish history. "His decisive leadership in one of the most successful political transitions in the world, during times of great uncertainty, was exemplary, as were the institutional wisdom and ease with which King Juan Carlos acted at key moments for Spain's democracy," he said.

The highest representative of the OAS expressed his certainty that "history will record his determining role in the rebirth of Spanish democracy." "His abdication today, opening the door to new generations, confirms his quality as a leader," he added.

May 29, 2014 – GERMANY DONATES 2 MILLION EUROS IN TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE OAS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza, today met with the Permanent Representative of Germany to the OAS, Peter Wittig, whose government donated two million euros in technical assistance to the hemispheric institution for the protection of the climate and biodiversity in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Secretary General Insulza thanked Ambassador Wittig for the donation from the German government which will take the form of the personnel and inputs through the National Metrology Institute of Germany, to jointly implement a project with the OAS on the previously mentioned issues.

The Secretary General of the OAS highlighted the collaboration of Berlin with the hemispheric institution in areas such as democratic governance, the rule of law, human rights, education, climate protection, sustainable economic development and combating organized crime. 

The Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez, also took part in the meeting. 

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May 29, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF ROMANIA

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today received Iulian Buga, Permanent Observer of Romania to the OAS, in his office in Washington DC.

During the meeting, they discussed the scholarship programs of the Organization in the region, relations between Europe and the Americas, and the main points of focus in the upcoming OAS General Assembly in Asunción, Paraguay. Present at the meeting were the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez, and the Alternate Observer of Romania to the OAS, Andra Popescu.

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May 29, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF BELGIUM

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today received the Permanent Observer of Belgium to the OAS, Johan Verbeke, in his office in Washington DC.

During the meeting, the two discussed the regional political context and the agenda of the upcoming OAS General Assembly, which will take place in Asunción, Paraguay from June 3 to 5, under the theme “Development with Social Inclusion.” Also present at the meeting was the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez.

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May 26, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL AND CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER EXCHANGE LETTERS ON THE OCCASION OF CHINA’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY AS A PERMANENT OBSERVER TO THE OAS

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi, exchanged letters to celebrate the 10th anniversary since China was granted Permanent Observer status to the OAS on May 26, 2004.

In the Secretary General’s letter, he recognized the strong partnership with the Chinese Government, which has provided significant financial and in-kind contributions to more than 85 priority programs of the OAS General Secretariat, as well as 65 scholarships for citizens of the Americas to pursue academic studies in China since 2005, especially through the China-OAS Cooperation Fund and the Human Development and Scholarships program. The Secretary General pointed out that China’s strong commitment to the Organization and the Americas has been invaluable to strengthen the OAS’ capacity to deliver on the mandates from its Member States and ensure that the citizens of the Americas enjoy the benefits of good governance, prosperity, peace and justice.

For his part, the Chinese Foreign Minister expressed his best wishes and satisfaction with the friendly cooperation that has been developed with the OAS since it became a Permanent Observer in 2004.  Moreover, Minister Wang recognized the important role the Organization plays in regional and international affairs, and expressed his government’s interest in strengthening dialogue and exchange with the OAS to continue having a positive influence in regional stability and the socio-economic stability of the Americas.

May 19, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF MONACO

The Secretary for External Relations of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, met with Ambassador Maguy Maccario Doyle, Permanent Observer of Monaco to the OAS, and the two discussed ways to work together to enhance dialogue between Monaco, the OAS and its member states.

During the meeting, Ambassador Maccario-Doyle expressed the interest of H.S.H. Prince Albert II in visiting the OAS in 2015 to address the Member States in celebration of Monaco’s fifth anniversary as a Permanent Observer.

May 19, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF KAZAKHSTAN

The Secretary for External Relations of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, met with the Permanent Observer of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Kairat Umarov, today.

The representatives of the OAS and Kazakhstan discussed Kazakhstan’s growing engagement with the countries of the Americas, its leadership in other international organizations, parallels in the respective regions, potential areas of cooperation, and Kazakhstan’s participation in the 44th regular session of the OAS General Assembly in Paraguay.

Kazakhstan was granted Permanent Observer status to the OAS by the Permanent Council on February 22, 1996.

May 14, 2014 - PERMANENT COUNCIL RECEIVES A PRESENTATION BY THE VICE MINISTER OF FOREIGN RELATIONS OF ITALY

In its regular session today, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) received a presentation by the Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of Italy, at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington DC.

During his presentation, the Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of Italy, Mario Giro, echoed the words of Secretary General Insulza at the Canadian Foreign Ministry this week, that “the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a historic opportunity for economic transformation and sustainable development,” but that they will have to deal with “serious economic and social challenges” to take advantage of this opportunity. Along those lines, Vice Minister Giro said “Italy will continue to contribute to carrying out programs of cooperation for development and above all institutional strengthening and the exchange of best practices.”

Vice Minister Giro highlighted the historic links between his country and Latin America and noted two “comparative advantages” it maintains in the region: the large number of descendants of Italian migrants in the region, and the cultural similarity between Italy and the region. He summarized the interest of his country in continuing to contribute to programs to improve citizen security, above all in Central America, and committed to demonstrate this interest during the Presidency of Italy of the European Union in the second semester of this year. Upon concluding his address, Vice Minister Giro congratulated the General Secretariat and the Council “for having begun with determination, courage and transparency the delicate debate on the strategic vision of the OAS, which will be discussed during the upcoming General Assembly in Asunción.”

The Chief of Staff of the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, Ambassador Hugo de Zela, speaking on behalf of the OAS leader, highlighted the importance of the visit of Vice Minister Giro, which he called “a clear demonstration of the importance of the relations between our Organization and Italy in its quality of Observer Country since 1972.” Ambassador de Zela recalled the “wide spectrum of tasks” in which Italy cooperates with the OAS, among them public security, de-mining, electoral observation, human rights, civil registration, and judicial facilitators. At the beginning of this week, Secretary General Insulza received Vice Minister Giro in his office in Washington, DC.

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May 13, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF ITALY

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today met with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Mario Giro, at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC. 

Secretary General Insulza and Deputy Minister Giro discussed the political and economic situation in Latin American and the Caribbean, as well as in Europe, and the agenda of the next OAS General Assembly to take place from June 3 to 5 in Asunción, Paraguay, with the theme "Development with Social Inclusion."

During the meeting, Deputy Minister Giro showed interest in the various OAS programs in the Hemisphere, specifically the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP). For his part, Secretary General Insulza highlighted the role of the Permanent Observers to the Organization, who he said, make "a great contribution."

Also present at the meeting were the Permanente Observer of Italy, Ambassador Sebastiano Fulci; the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez; and the OAS Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanin.

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May 8, 2014 – PERMANENT OBSERVER OF CHINA INAUGURATES SCULPTURE EXHIBIT AT OAS ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS

The Permanent Observer of the People’s Republic of China, Ambassador Cui Tiankai, participated in the unveiling ceremony today of the sculpture exhibition “American States in Yuan Xikun's Eyes” in the sculpture garden of the OAS historic building in Washington, D.C.

The exhibition will be open from May 9 - August 1, 2014 and includes twelve works by Chinese sculptor Yuan Xikun of American, Latin American and Caribbean historical figures who made exceptional contributions to the Americas, including: Abraham Lincoln (United States), Simón Bolívar (Venezuela), Eloy Alfaro (Ecuador), Tupac Amarú (Peru), Lula Da Silva (Brazil), Juan Pablo Duarte (Dominican Republic), Tupac Katari (Bolivia), Juana Azurduy (Bolivia), Andreo De Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia), Jose Martí (Cuba), José de San Martín (Argentina).

The unveiling ceremony was preceded by a roundtable discussion and featured the participation of the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominica Republic, Nelly Perez Duverge, OAS Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, and the Director of the Art Museum of the Americas, Andres Navia, among other representatives of the OAS Member States, Permanent Observers, and local academia and museums.

May 6, 2014 - OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH VICE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF LITHUANIA

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met today with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Neris Germanas, at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC. 

Secretary General Insulza and Minister Germanas discussed the political situation of the region and of Eastern Europe; and the agenda of the next OAS General Assembly to take place June 3-5 in Asunción, Paraguay. Lithuania has participated in the OAS as a Permanent Observer since 2009.

At the meeting with the Baltic country's diplomat, Secretary General Insulza was accompanied by OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez; and OAS Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanin.

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May 6, 2014 – SECRETARY GENERAL INSULZA MEETS WITH THE PERMANENT OBSERVER OF QATAR TO THE OAS

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today met with the Permanent Observer of Qatar to the OAS, Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari, at the headquarters of the hemispheric Organization in Washington DC.

Secretary General Insulza and the Permanent Observer of Qatar discussed the relations between Latin America and the Caribbean and Qatar and in general with the Arab nations, and agreed on the importance of deepening relations between the two regions. Qatar has been a Permanent Observer since 2002, and since 2005 has made important contributions, in particular to the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the OAS.

The OAS Secretary General received the Qatari diplomat accompanied by the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez; and the Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanín.

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May 5, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES THE PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THE PRINCIPALITY OF LIECHTENSTEIN

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today received the Permanent Observer of the Principality of Liechtenstein, Ambassador Claudia Fritsche, at a meeting held at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC.

During the meeting, the European diplomat expressed her "satisfaction and pleasure" at participating as Permanent Observer, a status enjoyed by the country since January of this year. She also expressed the interest of her government in collaborating with the hemispheric Organization in areas such as education, sustainable development and human rights.

The OAS leader welcomed the arrival of the European country to the Organization and highlighted the various programs that the OAS develops in the areas highlighted by Ambassador Fritsche. The two also discussed the Electoral Missions the OAS has deployed and will deploy this year, and the agenda of the next General Assembly of the OAS, to be held in Asuncion, Paraguay, from June 3 to 5.

Also present at the meeting were the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñónez, and the Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanín.

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May 5, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS RECEIVES DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AMERICAN AND SOUTH PACIFIC AFFAIRS, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THAILAND

The Secretary for External Relations of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, met today with the Director-General, Department of American and South Pacific Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Songsak Saicheua. 

During the meeting, the OAS and Thai officials discussed the general situation in the Americas and potential areas of cooperation. Thailand was granted Permanent Observer status to the OAS in 1998 and has provided support to the OAS, especially in the form of professional development fellowships and scholarships in the areas of income generation and poverty reduction, tourism management, economic development and entrepreneurship.

May 1, 2014 – OAS CHIEF OF STAFF RECEIVES DIRECTOR FOR THE AMERICAS OF THE EUROPEAN EXTERNAL ACTION SERVICE

The Chief of Staff of the OAS Secretary General, Ambassador Hugo De Zela, met today with the Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service (EEAS) of the European Union, Roland Schaefer, at OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

During the meeting, the Chief of Staff shared the OAS’ appreciation for the European Commission’s recent contribution to the Inter-American Human Rights System; and the EEAS’ ongoing technical support to the OAS Secretariat for Political Affairs, the OAS security strategy in Central America, the Belize-Guatemala Adjacency Zone, and other matters of hemispheric importance.

In the meeting were also present the Senior Advisor for Global Issues from the Delegation of the European Union to the United States of America, Gisella Gori; OAS Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez; Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanín; Senior Advisor in the Secretariat for Political Affairs, Betilde Muñóz-Pogossian; and Advisor to the Secretary General, Pamela Moraga.

April 25, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH THE VATICAN SECRETARY OF STATE

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, visited the Secretary of State of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in his offices at the Holy See.
 
During the meeting, Secretary General Insulza and Cardinal Parolin discussed the current political context in Latin America and the Caribbean, the work of the OAS as the main political institution of the Hemisphere, and the role of the Vatican, as a Permanent Observer to the Organization and important actor in international relations, can play in addressing situations in the region.
 
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April 21, 2014 - FRANCE DELIVERS CONTRIBUTION TO THE OAS TO FUND ELECTORAL OBSERVATION MISSIONS

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Government of France today signed an agreement by which the European country will donate 150,000 euros to the Fund for Electoral Observation Missions (EOM) to be deployed by the hemispheric institution in 2014-2016. 

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, emphasized the key role of the EOMs in the promotion and advancement of democracy in the Hemisphere, and recalled that six observation missions were conducted during the first four months of 2014, while another ten will take place during the rest of the year. “To join with the government of France in these efforts will no doubt provide a key support in carrying out this important task entrusted to the OAS," he said.

"The signing of today's agreement is another example of France's commitment to further strengthen its cooperation for the benefit of the citizens of the Americas," said Secretary General Insulza, who stressed the importance of the input and interaction of the European country with the OAS, an organization to which it has been a Permanent Observer since 1972.

Insulza said EOMs "are one of the most important tools that we have for our Organization to consolidate democratic values and strengthen democratic institutions in our countries," emphasizing that "our Inter-American Democratic Charter establishes the holding of periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret and universal voting as an expression of the sovereignty of the people, one of the essential elements of representative democracy."

For his part, the Permanent Observer of France to the OAS, Ambassador Jean-Claude Nolla, noted that the contribution to EOMs is due to the special attention his country places on the actions of the OAS in this area, which he said "constitutes an important element in the consolidation and extension of democracy in the Americas." 

Ambassador Nolla noted that for more than a quarter of a century democracy has emerged as normal and legitimate form of political power in the Americas, adding that "now the political health of the Americas can be measured by the rhythm of democratic alternations, and without much drama." In this regard, the French diplomat recalled the political situation in the region before 1990, when many governments of the region were not elected democratically, and he appreciated "the immense progress made in 25 years."

Ambassador Nolla also noted that the OAS must play an indispensable role in the progress of democracy in the Americas, which is a crucial element of its legitimacy. "It's never an easy role, nor is it a quiet role, but it is a role that only the OAS can play," he said.

The French diplomat said that the EOMs of the OAS carry out their tasks with "conviction, determination and independence, and this is something that France welcomes." He added that the OAS has a central role in ensuring the transparency of elections in the region, because "a true democracy must have free and fair elections to renew the covenant between citizens and their representatives."

The agreement was signed at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC. The ceremony was attended by the Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the OAS; representatives of the Missions of the United States and Canada; the Chief of Staff of the OAS Secretary General, Hugo de Zela; the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez; the Director of the OAS Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation, Gerardo Hernández de Icaza; and the Director of the OAS Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanin.

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April 17, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THAILAND

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, received the Permanent Observer of Thailand, Ambassador Vijavat Isarabhakdi, at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC.

During the meeting, the Secretary General and the Thai diplomat discussed the situation in the Americas and Thailand’s engagement with the region.  The Secretary General expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s demonstrated commitment to the region and referred to the Memorandum of Understanding signed on July 27, 2012 between the General Secretariat of the OAS and the International Development Cooperation Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, which provided a framework for capacity-building and training courses in Thailand and in OAS Member States, as well as field technical assistance programs in the areas of professional development, tourism, management, economic and social development, and employment and poverty reduction.

In the meeting were also present the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez, and the Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanín.

March 31, 2014 – OAS CHIEF OF STAFF MEETS WITH DIRECTOR FOR THE AMERICAS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

The Chief of Staff of the OAS Secretary General, Ambassador Hugo De Zela, met today with the Director for the Americas of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Kate Smith, and the British Ambassador to Colombia, Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby at OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

During the meeting, the OAS and British officials discussed the OAS work in the Americas, with particular attention to the current status of the Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP) in Colombia, the upcoming presidential elections, the civil registry program, and the Belize-Guatemala Adjacency Zone.

The United Kingdom has been a Permanent Observer to the OAS since 1995 and has made contributions of more than $5 million to the work of the OAS in a wide array of areas, especially: the Belize and Guatemala Territorial Dispute; OAS Electoral Observation Missions in the region; human rights, racial and ethnic equality, freedom of expression; demining programs and the work of Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, among others.

Also present in the meeting were Alternate Observer of the United Kingdom to the OAS, James Eke; OAS Secretary for External Relations, Ambassador Alfonso Quiñónez; Secretary for Political Affairs, Kevin Casas-Zamora; Director of the Department of International Affairs, Jorge Sanín; Director of the Department of Sustainable Democracy and Special Mission, Christopher Hernandez-Roy; and Advisor to the Secretary General, Pamela Moraga.

March 22, 2014 – OAS AND EUROPEAN UNION SIGN FINANCING AGREEMENT TO STRENGTHEN THE INTER-AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, subscribed a cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU) that stipulates the contribution of one million Euros to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System, which pillars are the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The agreement "Support and Strengthening of the Work of the Inter-American Human Rights System through the promotion and protection of the rights of the most vulnerable and excluded communities and groups in the Americas," was led by Secretary General Insulza as part of the commitment to give greater strength to the system and to contribute to efforts aimed at addressing social inequities and the need to ensure the full rights of people living in vulnerable conditions.

The OAS-EU agreement seeks to respond to issues of great concern for the System, among which are impunity, inhumane treatment and conditions in prisons, and the security and protection of the rights of human rights defenders. The contribution of the European Union applies to program 4 of the IACHR Strategic Plan (2011-2015) and will foster the development of case law and legal regulations, which support the creation of policies and legislation that ensure respect for human rights in the member states, awareness and knowledge of the System, access to it by victims of human rights violations, and the strengthening of the Commission’s capacity to safeguard and protect their rights.

The European Union has been a Permanent Observer to the OAS since 1998 and has contributed nearly $17 million to programs of the Organization in the areas of promotion of democracy, cooperation and electoral observation, conflict resolution, human rights, public security, and sustainable development.

February 21, 2014 – OAS ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia today announced that they will be offering 15 scholarships for students of the Americas to study in the University for Information Science and Technology St. Paul the Apostle, in the city of Ohrid.

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, met with the new Permanent Observer of the United Kingdom to the OAS, Mr. Patrick Davies, on February 21, 2014.

During a meeting, the Assistant Secretary General welcomed Mr. Davies as the new British Permanent Observer and expressed the OAS’ appreciation for the United Kingdom’s long-term support to OAS programs in the areas of electoral cooperation and observation, conflict resolution and human rights.  The OAS and British representatives also discussed the current situation in Latin America and the Caribbean and the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas.

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February 11, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES THE PERMANENT OBSERVER OF ISRAEL

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today received the Permanent Observer of Israel, Ambassador Ron Dermer, at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington D.C.

During the meeting the two discussed the current political and economic situation in the Hemisphere and the different contributions the country has made to the OAS since it became a Permanent Observer in 1972. Among them, they noted the support for Electoral Missions, Scholarship Programs, Seminars conducted by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) and integral development programs, among others.

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February 10, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES THE PERMANENT OBSERVER OF ESTONIA

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today received the Permanent Observer of Estonia, Ambassador Marina Kaljurand, at the headquarters of the OAS in Washington D.C.

Secretary General Insulza and Ambassador Kaljurand discussed the current political situation in the region and the scope of the next OAS General Assembly, to be held in the first week of June in Asunción, Paraguay. During the meeting the diplomat delivered to the head of the hemispheric Organization a letter from the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, inviting him to participate in the “4th Annual Freedom Online Coalition Conference” that will take place in Tallinn April 28 and 29.

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February 6, 2014 - OAS AND FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA ANNOUNCE SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia today announced that they will be offering 15 scholarships for students of the Americas to study in the University for Information Science and Technology St. Paul the Apostle, in the city of Ohrid.

During a meeting at the headquarters of the Organization in Washington, DC, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the importance of the offer, which in his opinion "will not only contribute to and enhance this well established program, but will also open new paths for students from the Americas to engage with your country and the Balkans, and as such further strengthen the integration efforts of our regions.” Secretary General Insulza added that "the OAS places a strong emphasis on the pillar of integral development, which includes the development of our most precious resource, our people."

The Permanent Observer of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the OAS, Zoran Jolevski, explained that the program will offer 15 scholarships each year for five years to study any undergraduate degree program offered by the University. Ambassador Jolevski explained that for his country, the scholarships represent an opportunity to get to know and better understand the citizens of the Americas, and to help them get to know his country. The scholarships, which will form part of the OAS Academic Scholarship Program, will cover full tuition, visa fees, travel, accommodation, health insurance and a monthly stipend. Classes will be taught in English

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February 4, 2014 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH THE DIRECTOR FOR THE AMERICAS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met with the Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service of the European Union, Christian Leffler, at OAS headquarters in Washington DC. During the meeting, Secretary General Insulza and Managing Director Leffler discussed the current political and economic situation in the region, as well as human rights, regional alliances and the agenda of the next OAS General Assembly, to be held in Asunción, Paraguay.

They also talked about the Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas, as well as issues related to the security situation in Central America, the progress in the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP-OEA), and the negotiations for peace in the South American country.

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January 31, 2014 –PERMANENT COUNCIL GRANTS MONTENEGRO AND THE PRINCIPALITY OF LIECHTENSTEIN THE STATUS OF PERMANENT OBSERVER TO THE OAS

The Permanent Council approved the requests by the Governments of Montenegro and the Principality of Liechtenstein to be granted Permanent Observer status to the Organization of American States (OAS) during its regular meeting today.

The addition of these two countries brings the total number to 70 Permanent Observers to the OAS. The OAS General Assembly established the status of Permanent Observer in 1971 through resolution AG/RES. 50 (I-O/71) with a view to provide a way for non-OAS Member States to follow OAS activities, attend the meetings of the Organization’s political organs and provide cooperation for its programs. Permanent Observers attend meetings of the General Assembly and Permanent Council and of their principal committees. They also receive the documents and publications of the Organization and are invited to attend specialized conferences and other meetings convoked by the OAS. The Permanent Observers provide cooperation, in the form of training opportunities, expert services, equipment, and cash contributions for various OAS programs.

January 14, 2014 – SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PRESIDENT OF SPAIN

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met today with the President of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, at OAS headquarters in Washington DC. 

Secretary General Insulza and the President Rajoy discussed the current global political situation and relations between Latin America and Europe, analyzed the political and economic situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, trade negotiations between North America and the United States, and the peace process in Colombia. The OAS leader and the head of the Spanish government also reviewed aspects of the progress made in regional integration alliances in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the economic challenges the region will face during 2014.

President Rajoy gave details to the Secretary General Insulza on the recovery in Spain, where the economy has returned to growth after a recession, and about reforms his government undertook to tackle the crisis. "Nobody talks about the euro crisis and bailouts in Europe anymore," said the OAS Secretary General after the meeting.

The OAS Secretary General was accompanied by the Chair of the Permanent Council and Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the OAS, Pedro Vergés; his Chief of Staff, Hugo de Zela; and the OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez. President Rajoy attended the meeting with the Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS, Jorge Hevia; the Chief of Staff of the President of Spain, Jorge Moragas; the Director of the Department of International Politics and Security, Ildefonso Castro López; the Presidential Adviser on International Affairs to the President, María Benasach; and the Director of the Department of Protocol of the President, Bernardo de Sicart Escoda.

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