Media Center

Press Release


  February 6, 2007

The government of Panama has signed an agreement that officially confirms it will host the next General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS). The thirty-seventh regular session will bring together the hemisphere’s foreign ministers in Panama City from June 3 to 5, under the theme of “Energy for Development.”

Panama’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Aristides Royo, signed the agreement along with Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, during a ceremony at OAS headquarters Monday. They also signed agreements for two other conferences to be held in Panama: the First Meeting of the Committee of the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities, slated for February 28 to March 1; and the Fifth Meeting of National Points of Contacts and the Seventh Session of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), from February 28 to March 2.

Citing a series of important conventions and declarations that will be presented for the consideration of the General Assembly, Ambassador Royo underscored the need for proactive follow-up to implement them. “These declarations, which are of such great historic value to the Americas, will have served no purpose if there is no implementation afterwards, or if member states do not agree on follow-up to put into practice the principles they articulate,” he said.

He said it was important to evaluate not just the meeting itself, “but what will be done on the basis of what emerges from Panama City.” In this regard, Royo stressed his country’s interest in deepening the process of integrating the peoples of the Americas. “Our greatest desire is for this integration, this cooperation, solidarity and brotherhood uniting our peoples and the states of the hemisphere to be reflected in the attitude of our member states,” he explained. Concerning the meeting on disabilities, the Panamanian diplomat noted that this is a key issue in which the country’s First Lady has taken an especially deep interest.

Secretary General Insulza thanked the Panamanian government for offering to host the OAS meetings. Referring to the General Assembly, he said the Organization plans to submit concrete proposals that can serve as a basis on which the countries can coordinate energy policies and devise strategies for the future.

Insulza also made mention of the initiative to widen the Panama Canal, noting that this is a vital issue to the OAS given the value of that inter-oceanic waterway to the Americas. The Secretary General said the countries on the hemisphere’s Pacific coast “are particularly heavy users of the Canal and thus its expansion it is no small matter for us.”

Reference: E-035/07