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.

General Activities: 2015|2014|2013|2012|2011|2010|2009|2008|2007

April 22, 2015 – OAS SECRETARY FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS MEETS WITH THE HEAD OF THE AMERICAS DIVISION OF THE SWISS DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quinonez, met with the Head of the Americas Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Philippe Guex, at OAS headquarters. 
 
During the meeting, they discussed recent OAS-Swiss cooperation in electoral observation missions, human rights and freedom of expression, the Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP) in Colombia, as well as the upcoming 45th regular session of the General Assembly and the transition process in the OAS General Secretariat following the elections of the next Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General of the hemispheric institution.
 
The Director of the OAS Department of International Affairs, Jane Thery, and the Deputy Regional Coordinator for the US and the OAS of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, Yves Reymond, also participated in the meeting.

April 11, 2015 – SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH PRIME MINISTER OF THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS DURING THE 7TH SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met today with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, in the framework of the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama.
 
During the meeting, the two discussed the programs of the OAS in the region, with particular attention to the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP-Colombia), and the Inter-American Program of Judicial Facilitators. In addition, they discussed the progress of the Summit, the recent opening in relations between the United States and Cuba, and the cooperation within the region on security and cyber security, among other issues.
 
The Secretary General-elect of the OAS, Luis Almagro, and the Prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman, took part in the meeting, among others.

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March 27, 2015 – ESTONIA CONTRIBUTES 100,000 DOLLARS TO OAS CYBER SECURITY PROGRAM

The Organization of American States (OAS) today received a $100,000 contribution from the Government of Estonia for the Cyber Security Program of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security of hemispheric institution.
 
The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted the growing role of the internet as an engine of development, and recalled that in Latin America and the Caribbean some 250 million people are connected to cyber space. "With this increased connectivity however, come increased risks, and the potential of falling victim to cyber crime. It is estimated that the likely annual cost to the global economy from cyber crime is more than 445 billion dollars, including both the gains for criminals and the costs to companies for recovery and defense," he added.
 
Secretary General Insulza thanked the Government of Estonia for supporting the Cyber Security Program of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the OAS, noting that, through this initiative, the Organization supports member states in developing their national cyber security strategies. “The program continually strives to build partnership with various processes and entities; the added value that we have seen in Latin America and the Caribbean cannot be measured in dollars and cents.”
 
For his part, the Ambassador of Estonia, Eerik Marmei, said that his Government has always been open to sharing experiences in tackling cyber security issues. "Cyber security is an important issue that no one has the privilege to ignore. The Estonian contribution will further strengthen our cooperation with the OAS in the advancement of cyber security and e-governance,” said the Estonian diplomat, adding that this new step will "deepen the practical cooperation" established in the agreement that his country and the OAS signed in October 2014.
 
Among the main objectives of the CICTE Cyber Security Program are to establish national "alert, watch, and warning" groups, also known as Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs), in each country; create a hemispheric watch and warning network made up of these CSIRTs that provide guidance and support to cyber security technicians from around the Americas; cultivate and support the development of National Cyber Security Strategies; and promote a culture and awareness of cyber security in the private and public sector that contributes to the strengthening of cyber security in the Americas.
 
During 2014, the Estonian government gave its technical support to five missions of CICTE on cybersecurity in several countries of the region.
 
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March 26, 2015 – CHIEF OF STAFF RECEIVES DIRECTOR OF THE AMERICAS OF THE BRITISH FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

The Chief of Staff of the OAS General Secretariat, Hugo De Zela, received the Director for the Americas of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Kate Smith, at OAS Headquarters.
 
During the meeting, the OAS and British officials discussed recent developments in the region, the upcoming 7th Summit of the Americas and the transition process to the new administration following the elections on March 18, 2015 of the next Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General of the Organization.
 
The OAS Secretary for External Relations, Alfonso Quinonez, also participated in the meeting.  The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was granted Permanent Observer status to the OAS in 1995.  In recent years, the British Government has increased its cooperation with the hemispheric organization, especially toward the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

March 3, 2015 – EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE IACHR PRESENTS 2015 STRATEGIC PLAN TO PERMANENT OBSERVERS

The Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Secretariat for External Relations of the Organization of American States (OAS) held a meeting with Permanent Observer Representatives at OAS Headquarters to discuss the recent advances of the Inter-American Human Rights System and its Strategic Plan for 2015.
 
The OAS Secretary of External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez,  opened the meeting by welcoming the Permanent Observer representatives and recognizing the “critical role that Observers play for the OAS—not only in terms of financial contributions, but also through the rich political dialogue, technical expertise and institutional support” they offer to strengthen OAS efforts to promote human rights, democracy, multidimensional security, access to justice and integral development in the Americas.
 
Then, the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Alvarez-Icaza, provided an overview of the Commission’s structure and its work through in loco visits, the petition and case system, rapporteurships, and use of electronic and social media to awareness of its work.  He pointed out that 48% of the specific funds received by the IACHR in 2014 came from Permanent Observers, which enabled the Commission to reduce the backlog of petitions filed to the IACHR and expand its monitoring of the human rights situation in the region through its thematic rapporteurships and increased promotional activities.  Executive Secretary Alvarez-Icaza also shared some of the emerging human rights issues in the region and the Commission’s plan to restructure itself in order to better address future challenges.
 
The meeting included the participation of the Director of the OAS Department of International Affairs, Jane Thery, as well as representatives from the Permanent Observer Missions of European Union, France, Holy See, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Spain and Sweden.

February 24, 2015 - GERMANY ANNOUNCES CONTRIBUTION TO THE OAS MISSION TO SUPPORT THE PEACE PROCESS IN COLOMBIA

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, and the Director General for Africa, Asia, Latin America, Near- and Middle East of the Foreign Office of Germany, Clemens von Goetze, announced today that the European country would add two million euros to its contribution to the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS).
 
Upon exchanging the letters that formally conclude the agreement, Secretary General Insulza thanked Germany for its important contribution, which was made shortly following the extension of the agreement between the OAS and Colombia to extend the MAPP for three years. “With this contribution, we will be able to cover in large measure the agreement to extend the MAPP until 2018,” he said and added that “we are certain that these three years of work will help us to increase our presence in some territories and at the same time to continue to be relevant to the peace process.”
 
The OAS leader emphasized the important role of Germany, which has been a Permanent Observer to the OAS since 1972, in supporting several programs of the Organization “to promote peace and conflict resolution, electoral cooperation, civil identity, the rights of indigenous peoples and sustainable development in the Americas.” “Through its support for the MAPP over the last eight years, Germany has become a key partner and supporter of the Organization´s work in fostering peace, reconciliation and justice in Colombia,” said the Secretary General.
 
For his part Ambassador Von Goetze highlighted that “it is very obvious that the peace process needs support and the OAS has proven that it can give this support with the full consent of the government but also those on the ground and that peace can only be achieved if justice is guaranteed at the same time.” The German diplomat said the MAPP/OAS “shows that the OAS can be helpful in this kind of political process, and that the peace process in Colombia might well be a model for others.”
 
The Alternate Representative of Colombia, Yadir Salazar, speaking on behalf of the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OAS, Andrés González Díaz, expressed the gratitude of her country to Germany for the “generous contribution,” which she said reflects “Germany’s commitment and unwavering support to help Colombia reach a lasting and sustainable peace.” Minister Salazar said “It is not just Colombians who long for peace. It is an aspiration that belongs to all the countries in our Hemisphere and around the world. Colombia remains grateful to all our partners and our friends -Germany, the OAS and the many others - who believe and support this undertaking, and to everyone that believes that peace can and will someday very soon be a reality in Colombia.”
 
Also present in the meeting were the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert Ramdin; Secretary for Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora; Head of the Political Department at the Embassy of Germany in Washington DC, Ludger Siemes; Alternate Observer of Germany to the OAS, Charlotte von Friedeburg; Director of the OAS Department of International Affairs, Jane Thery; and Director of the OAS Department of Democratic Sustainability and Special Missions, Christopher Hernández-Roy, among others.

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February 9, 2015 - THE OAS AND FRANCE SEEK TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS TO ADVANCE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
 
The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, met at the headquarters of the institution in Washington, DC with the Minister of Justice of France, Christiane Taubira, with whom he discussed possibilities for cooperation in criminal justice, the protection of human rights, new ways of tackling the problem of drugs and the fight against terrorism.
 
Minister Taubira, accompanied by members of her staff, expressed interest in the major initiatives and programs of the OAS in these areas. In this context, Secretary General Insulza, joined by the heads of the OAS in these areas, referred to the importance of close collaboration between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean on judicial matters, and said "the issue of terrorism poses a challenge of a global nature, and the ways of addressing it have become increasingly complex faced with new threats and methods." That is why, he added, "working together and finding faster and more effective mechanisms for cooperation is increasingly urgent."
 
The OAS leader said "in addition to being a Permanent Observer to our Organization, France is also a strategic partner with whom we have worked not only in the areas of security and justice, but also to promote democracy and peace in the region."
 
For her part, Minister Taubira highlighted the importance of strengthening international relations to facilitate the task of combating terrorism and noted that her country aims to "fight terrorism without weakening democracy or the rule of law."
 
During the meeting, the participants discussed cooperation initiatives intended to strengthen ties and coordinated work through the exchange of information and best practices, under the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by France in November 2012 to participate in the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. The document was signed during the Third Meeting of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA III) held in Quito, Ecuador.
 
Minister Taubira has participated as an observer in several meetings of the REMJA, and in this context she has embodied her country’s support for the Hemispheric Information Exchange Network for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition. Building on existing cooperation, Monday´s meeting sought to identify new ways to deal with new threats affecting the countries, and to explore aspects of human rights protection.
 
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January 30, 2015 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH THE PERMANENT OBSERVER OF ANGOLA
 
The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, met with the Permanent Observer of Angola to the OAS, Agostinho Tavares, in the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, D.C.
 
Secretary General Insulza and Ambassador Tavares discussed the details of the next Summit of the Americas that will take place in April in Panama; the political and economic situation in the region, the Inter-American System, and relations between the OAS and the African Union.  Ambassador Tavares is also representative of Angola to the Government of the United States. Angola has been a Permanent Observer to the OAS since 1991.
 
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January 30, 2015 – OAS OFFICIALS RECEIVE DIRECTOR FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN OF THE EUROPEAN UNION’S DIRECTORATE GENERAL FOR DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION (DEVCO)
 
Officials of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) received the Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the European Union’s Directorate General for Development and Cooperation (DEVCO), Jolita Butkeviciene.
 
During the meeting the representative of the European Union presented the development cooperation policy in the Latin America and Caribbean region, including the European Union’s Multi-annual Indicative Program (MIP) for Latin America 2014-2020. For their part, the representatives of the OAS Secretariats for External Relations, Integral Development, Political Affairs and Multidimensional Security shared the OAS priority programs in their respective areas and discussed potential areas of future cooperation.
 
Present in the meeting were Alfonso Quinonez, Secretary for External Relations; Sherry Tross, Executive Secretary for Integral Development; Jane Thery, Director of the Department of International Affairs;  Paul Simons, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD); Christopher Hernandez-Roy, Director of the Department of Sustainable Democracy and Special Missions; Paulina Duarte, Director of the Department of Public Security, among other representatives from the European Union and OAS General Secretariat.

January 28, 2015 - OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH OFFICIALS AT THE CELAC SUMMIT
 
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, met with the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini; and the Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service, Christian Leffler, within the framework of his visit to San Jose, Costa Rica to participate in the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
 
During these meetings the OAS and EU representatives exchanged his views on the political landscape in the region; the economic and social challenges facing the Hemisphere; the preparations and expectations of the Seventh Summit of the Americas, to be held in Panama in April; and plans for cooperation between the OAS and the European Union.
 
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January 26, 2015 – OAS PRESENTS ELECTORAL OBSERVATION MISSIONS AND INITIATIVES IN 2015 TO PERMANENT OBSERVERS
 
The Secretariats for External Relations and Political Affairs of the Organization of American States (OAS) held a meeting with Permanent Observer Representatives at OAS Headquarters to present the calendar of OAS Electoral Observation Missions and other electoral cooperation initiatives in 2015.
 
During the opening remarks, the OAS Secretary of External Relations, Alfonso Quiñonez,  welcomed the Permanent Observer representatives and highlighted the importance of their support to OAS democracy-related programs. The Secretary of Political Affairs, Kevin Casas-Zamora, expressed his gratitude to the Permanent Observers for their financial and technical cooperation, which contributed to the effective implementation of 11 OAS Electoral Observation Missions in 2014.
 
Then, the Director of the Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO), Gerardo de Icaza, provided an overview of the OAS Electoral Observation Missions deployed in 2014 and the electoral calendar in 2015, and shared that the OAS has been officially invited by five member states to observe or accompany their elections so far in 2015 (Bolivia, El Salvador, Guyana, Mexico and Suriname), and expects to deploy up to 13 before the end of the year. In addition, the Director of DECO discussed the different electoral observation methodologies used in EOMs and new initiatives the OAS is developing to remain at the vanguard of electoral cooperation, such as the professionalization of electoral observation, support to member states in the follow-up and implementation of recommendations from previous EOMs, the creation of ISO standards accreditation body for electoral institutions around the world, as well as studies on voting for citizens abroad, citizens with disabilities, electoral justice, security and malpractice, among other topics.
 
Following the presentation by the Director of DECO, the Permanent and Alternate Representatives of Bolivia, El Salvador, Guyana, Mexico and Suriname offered brief comments on the importance of the upcoming elections in their respective countries and expressed their appreciation to the Permanent Observers for the interest in potentially supporting the OAS Electoral Observation Missions.
 
The meeting included the participation of the Director of the OAS Department of International Affairs, Jane Thery, as well as representatives from the Permanent Observer Missions of China, European Union, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
 
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January 20-21, 2015 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH OFFICIALS OF THE NETHERLANDS
 
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, traveled to The Netherlands on January 20-21, 2015, where he sustained meetings with high-level government officials, including the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen; Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten; Director of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law, Sam Muller, and the Parliamentary Committee on International Affairs.

During the private meetings, the OAS leader and the Dutch Government representatives exchanged views on political and economic events in the Americas, as well as cooperation between the Netherlands and the OAS for major projects such as the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP) and the Inter-American Judicial Facilitators Program, among other potential areas for new forms of cooperation in justice and security. The Secretary General expressed his gratitude for the support and funding that the Netherlands has offered for decades to the hemispheric institution on issues and situations of fundamental importance. During the meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on International Affairs, the Committee members highlighted the Secretary General’s experience and leadership and his contributions to the regional political debate.
 
The Netherlands was granted Permanent Observer status to the OAS in 1972 and has become the top donor among Permanent Observers since  2012, contributing more than US$17.4 million in the past three years to the OAS, especially for the Inter-American Judicial Facilitators Program, OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process (MAPP) in Colombia, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  Since 1999, the Netherlands has contributed nearly US$36 million to OAS programs.
 
January 21, 2015 – Secretary General meets with Parliamentary Committee on International Affairs of the Netherlands
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January 20, 2015 - OAS Secretary General OAS Secretary General Met with the Director of the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law
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January 20, 2015 – Secretary General meets with the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands
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January 20, 2015 – Secretary General meets with the Minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands
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January 16, 2015 – OAS SECRETARY GENERAL SPEAKS ABOUT DRUG PROBLEM IN THE AMERICAS AT LONDON CONFERENCE ON “GEOPOLITICS AND THE GLOBAL SOUTH”
 
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today took part in a conference on “Geopolitics and the Global South: Challenges of the Emerging International Order,” organized by the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
 
Secretary General Insulza made a presentation titled “New perspectives on the drug problem in the Americas,” as part of a session focused on “the geopolitics of security,” which featured the participation of Domitilla Sagramoso, of Kings College London and the Royal Institute of International Affairs; Dino Mahtani, Investigator for the United Nations Security Council; and Christopher Hughes, Head of the International Relations Department of the LSE. The session was chaired by Guillermo Fernández de Soto, Director of CAF´s Office for Europe and former Foreign Minister of Colombia.
 
In his presentation at the LSE campus in London, the OAS leader emphasized the importance of exploring new options on drug policy to bring together experiences and knowledge; of treating drug addiction as an illness, not a crime; and of focusing efforts on reducing violence and the profits associated with drug trafficking, as well as enforcing the law.
 
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January 15, 2015 - OAS AND LONDON ACADEMY OF DIPLOMACY SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT
 
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, Joseph Mifsud, today signed a cooperation agreement between their respective institutions to strengthen education and human development.
 
The agreement stipulates that the OAS and the London Academy of Diplomacy will share resources and join efforts to advance education and diplomatic relations through staff exchanges and training activities in the areas of development, education and diplomacy.
 
In November, Director Mifsud made a presentation during a special meeting of the Permanent Council at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, on the relationship between diplomacy and development in a complex global environment. Today´s signing ceremony took place at the Academy in London.
 
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January 15, 2015 - OAS PERMANENT COUNCIL APPROVED DECLARATION OF SUPPORT FOR FRANCE AND CONDEMNS TERRORISM FOLLOWING ATTACKS IN THE COUNTRY
 
The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a declaration in support of the French people and sent its condolences to the country and the families affected by the violent acts that took place in Paris last week, that led to the deaths of 17 people in the attack on the weekly “Charlie Hebdo” and the taking of hostages in a kosher supermarket.
 
The declaration of the Permanent Council, presented following a proposal by the Permanent Representative of Guatemala, José María Argueta, “vigorously and unreservedly condemns terrorism in any part of the world, in all its forms and manifestations.” The document also welcomes the expressions of support and solidarity by governments around the world “to the people and Government of France for their rejection of violence and acts of terrorism perpetrated by radical groups.” Moreover the Council calls in the declaration for the consolidation of peace, respect for life, tolerance and other fundamental rights and freedoms.
 
In their addresses, the representatives of the member states in the Permanent Council expressed on behalf of their governments their solidarity with the people and Government of France, and also condemned the recent attack against the civilian population in Nigeria.
 
Declaration on the Terrorist Attacks in France
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January 12, 2015 - OAS SECRETARY GENERAL SIGNED BOOK OF CONDOLENCES AT THE FRENCH EMBASSY
 
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today signed the book of condolences opened by the French Embassy in United States over the recent terrorist attack in Paris.
 
The Secretary General was accompanied by the Permanent Observer of France to the OAS, Jean-Claude Nolla, who thanked the OAS leader for his presence and support.
 
The leader of the hemispheric institution condemned last week´s attack, which, he said “threatened freedom of the press and freedom of expression.”
 
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January 8, 2015 - OAS SECRETARY GENERAL SENDS CONDOLENCES TO THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF FRANCE
 
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, expressed his “most sincere condolences” to the government and people of France “over the tragic attack committed against the staff of the Parisian weekly Charlie Hebdo,” which took the life of twelve people.
 
In a letter sent to the President of France, François Hollande, Secretary General Insulza writes that “the OAS unreservedly condemns this act of terrorism that threatens freedom of the press and freedom of expression,” and expresses his support “to the government and people of France at this difficult time.”
 
The leader of the hemispheric Organization concludes the letter stating that “we are shocked by this terrible act and send to you our deepest sympathies.”

January 7, 2015 – SECRETARY GENERAL RECEIVES PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
 
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, received the Permanent Observer of the European Union (EU) to the Organization and Ambassador to the White House, David O´Sullivan, in his office in Washington, DC.
 
During the meeting the two discussed recent developments in the relationship between the United States and Cuba, the challenges facing the region, the economic relationships between Europe and the Americas, and the current political context.
 
Also present at the meeting were the Head of the Political, Security and Development Section of the EU Delegation to the United States, Klaus Botzet; the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez; the Alternate Representative of the EU to the OAS, Despina Manos; and the Acting Director of the Department of International Affairs of the OAS, Jane Thery, among others.
 
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