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Permanent Council Receives Presentation from the Foreign Minister of Uruguay, Candidate for OAS Secretary General

  February 18, 2015

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today received a presentation by the Minister of Foreign Relations of Uruguay, Luis Almagro, in his capacity as candidate for Secretary General of the Organization, in a special meeting that took place at the headquarters of the OAS in Washington DC.

Upon opening his address, Foreign Minister Almagro said to the Permanent Representatives to the hemispheric body ““Together we can build, step by step, a common agenda based on solutions for development and hemispheric security,” and emphasized that “the OAS of the 21st century must be global, must go out into the world, have relations with strategic countries and environments, with global and regional multilateral bodies, must be efficient and improve those areas where it adds value.” “The Americas have been divided, it is time to heal the wounds of the past and build an Americas that is united and for everyone,” he added.

The chief Uruguayan diplomat mentioned as examples of issues in which the OAS has an added value the political articulation of citizen security; the management of natural disasters in Central America and the Caribbean; and the creation of an Inter-American system of prevention of social conflicts.

Minister Almagro presented his vision based on the four pillars of the OAS: democracy, human rights, integral development and multidimensional security. On democracy, he said “the OAS must equip itself with tools that allow it to have advance knowledge of eventual crises to act in a coordinated way with the states, on the basis of dialogue, to avoid anti-democratic outcomes.”

In the area of human rights, Minister Almagro proposed the creation of “an Inter-American System of Prevention of Social Conflicts, as an active system that allows for the reinforcement of local capacity, not only at the governmental level but also from the private sector and social movements, in order to avoid eventual clashes arising from the installation of productive and extractive projects, to moderate their impact and to attend to the needs and demands of local communities.”

On the issue of development, the Minister of Foreign Relations of Uruguay explained that, if he is elected as Secretary General, he would propose three initiatives in the area of development: first, a contingency fund for natural disasters with particular emphasis on Central America and the Caribbean; second, an Interconnectivity Fund for the Caribbean “which can overcome structural weaknesses, either in terms of logistics and information and communications technology, and increase the employment potential for youth;” and third, an Inter-American initiative on climate change “that can reach a consensus on the position of the Hemisphere ahead of Paris 2015.”

In terms of multidimensional security, the Uruguayan Foreign Minister proposed the generation of “a regional initiative to strengthen citizen security in the Hemisphere,” including the participation of multilateral and global organizations, the private sector and civil society. In addition, he presented his intention, if elected to begin the publication of an Annual Report on Citizen Security, which would allow “for the realization of a true diagnostic of the situation in each of the regions, subregions and countries of this Hemisphere.”

Next, Almagro expressed his belief that the member states of the Organization should find a viable and consensual way for the “effective re-entry” of Cuba to the OAS, and that the next Summit of the Americas in Panama in April “will be historic in that it will become a landmark due to the presence of Cuba.”

In his conclusion, Minister Almagro emphasized that “This Organization we belong to has an irreplaceable accumulated history; it's an Organization that, because of its wealth and experience, allows us to be confident in building on what has already been done to create a mutually beneficial future for our countries."

The Chair of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Suriname to the OAS, Ambassador Niermala Badrising, welcomed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay on behalf of the body she leads.

In her presentation, she said "Dr. Almagro has come to share his vision for the Organization and his plans to strengthen it in these times of change", and stated that the Organization "prides itself to be at a historic moment as we strive to consolidate political consensus by way of continental solidarity, including that with other regional and sub-regional integration mechanisms." "These are times in which we seek to position this solidarity as the guiding principle of our organization, bearing in mind that the most characteristic feature of our hemisphere is our diversity,” she added.

The Chair of the Council noted that member states are committed to the process of the strategic vision, management modernization, and priorization of OAS mandates, among other initiatives, and as such there is a keen interest "to achieve the Organization we all believe we should have." In that regard, she added that whoever is elected as Secretary General, "will have to lead and manage the General Secretariat in a manner that meets the concerns, circumstances and needs of member states and strengthen the Secretariat “while adapting to new political, social, demographic and economic realities in the hemisphere," a task she said ‘was not easy," but indispensable.

The election of the Secretary General will take place on March 18. According to the rules of the OAS, candidates can be presented until the same day as the election.

Before the meeting, Foreign Minister Almagro was received by the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza; and by the Chair of the Permanent Council, Niermala Badrising.

The presentation by Minister Almagro was followed by a question and answer session with the member states, in which the representatives of Brazil, El Salvador, Haiti, Paraguay, Venezuela, The Bahamas, Dominica, Belize, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, the United States, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala and Guyana took the floor.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video news of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-047/15