Media Center

Press Release


  March 24, 2005

The United States government today signed an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) paving the way for the Organization’s thirty-fifth regular General Assembly session to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from June 5 to 7, 2005. It will mark the first time since 1974 that the US is hosting an OAS General Assembly, the highest decision-making forum that brings together the foreign ministers of the Americas.

After signing the agreement with OAS Acting Secretary General Luigi R. Einaudi at OAS Headquarters, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador John Maisto remarked that “our discussions at Fort Lauderdale on ”Delivering the Benefits of Democracy”— should focus on how to improve our collective efforts to implement the democratic agenda pursuant to the Inter-American Democratic Charter”.

Ambassador Maisto went on to stress that there is a thematic link between the upcoming June General Assembly and the next Summit of the Americas that Argentina will host in November since the focus of the Summit will be Creating Employment to Confront Poverty and Strengthen Democracy Governance. He added that “this will reassure our peoples that their democratic representatives are determined to deliver both freedom and a better quality of life.” The U.S. Secretary of State’s Special Coordinator for the 2005 OAS General Assembly, Ambassador Ronald Godard, was also in attendance at the ceremony.

The Acting Secretary General, meanwhile, stressed the significance of the upcoming regular General Assembly session in the context of renewal, as the Organization prepares to elect a new Secretary General. Einaudi noted that besides its agenda issues, the June session will elect a new Assistant Secretary General, and he expressed the hope that this renewal “will prove to be one that can continue and deepen the traditions of democratic solidarity and growing hemispheric integration that have been hallmarks of the OAS.” Furthermore, he expressed the hope that as a result of the General Assembly, “ the OAS will resolve the funding problems and emerge more coordinated and stronger to meet the goals of the Member States”.

Among the topics the foreign ministers are expected to examine in Fort Lauderdale are: fulfilling the promise of the Inter-American Democratic Charter for all the peoples of the Americas; promoting a democratic culture; advancing in the fight against illegal drugs; improving the status of indigenous peoples ; strengthening the inter-American human rights protection system; combatting transnational criminal youth gangs; and making 2006 the Inter-American Year of the Fight against Corruption.

Reference: E-055/05