Media Center

Press Release


  March 2, 2007

PANAMA CITY, Panama—The 34 member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) today renewed their commitment to strengthen multilateral efforts to prevent, combat, and eliminate threats to security in the region, by adopting the Declaration of Panama on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure in the Hemisphere in the Face of Terrorism.

The Declaration recognizes the need to “promote international, regional, and subregional cooperation to confront terrorist threats to critical infrastructure” that have the potential to affect the “peace, democracy, stability, and prosperity of the countries of the region.” The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (known as CICTE), which brought together high-level authorities from around the hemisphere, today concluded its seventh regular period of sessions.

During the closing ceremony, CICTE President and Ambassador of Panama to the OAS, Aristides Royo, underscored the need to continue addressing the causes of terrorism in order to be able to eliminate it. Poverty, he said, is one of the major causes, but not the only one. Royo stressed that other motives exist which do not necessarily come from “poverty belts,” including ideological and religious reasons, and he reiterated the need for the CICTE to continue working at an international level to find solutions to terrorism. Noting that this meeting established the will for greater international cooperation, Royo said that it is vital for countries to share information among themselves. Whenever a country requests information from another, neighbor or not, it should be provided in full, he added.

The Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Javier Rupérez, said the fight against terrorism requires the complete commitment of governments and societies, at all levels, from the different countries. “The societies that confront terrorism reaffirm their convictions and reinforce their determination to live without fear. The international community has the obligation of continuing to support them,” Rupérez said.

For his part, the Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Robert B. Stephan, reiterated that the protection of national and international infrastructures is essential. He noted that the Panama Declaration represents “a unique opportunity to enhance the cooperation of OAS member states in hemispheric security, as it will support individual member states in their efforts to protect their own critical national infrastructures, and foster regional sharing of information, best practices and methodologies to enhance the protection of transnational hemispheric infrastructures.”

The Declaration underscores the need to promote a series of measures to improve the coordination and the exchange of information between the member states with a view to “preventing, mitigating and deterring threats to critical infrastructures and harmonizing, as appropriate, national and regional efforts.”

Reference: E-065/07