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OAS Secretary General Defends Policy Advocacy in Favor of Dialogue and Peace during Inauguration of VI Forum on Confidence and Security Building Measures

  March 12, 2015

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today defended the importance of political dialogue and strengthening of regional peace in order to improve trust between member countries of the Organization as he inaugurated the VI Forum on Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs), at the headquarters of the hemispheric Organization in Washington, DC.

Secretary General Insulza recalled that the objective of the Forum is to strengthen relations between the countries of the region, and that "our hemisphere is one of peace." He said "when compared with other hemisphere, at any time in the history of mankind, we can say without fear of contradiction that the Americas are a physical and social space where armed conflict between states has been minimal, and since the consolidation of the Inter-American System, more than a century ago, these conflicts when they have taken place, have tended to be solved thanks to the joint intervention of the remaining states of the Americas."

The OAS leader said that CSBMs are heirs and instruments of this tradition, adding that these "must prevail and be strengthened not only because mistrust is always possible and because there are always conflicts, but because their consolidation and constant practice are also an expression of the strengthening of cooperation between our states."

Secretary General Insulza highlighted as one of the achievements of CSBMs that OAS member states regularly disclose and exchange military information through the Organization. "Today, through mechanisms that we have developed and continue to promote here, within the heart of the OAS, the States report on joint exercises, military exercises, visits by defense personnel, personnel exchanges and methodologies for measuring defense spending," he said.

He also mentioned the publication of the "Defense White Papers" also disclosed within the OAS, as another example of CSBMs. "These are books of policy and national defense doctrine, seeking to improve political-military relations and are a genuine expression of the democratization of the defense ministries in the region," he said. In this regard, he welcomed the request of the government of Haiti to the OAS -through the Inter-American Defense Board-, for its collaboration in developing a White Paper for the Caribbean nation. "I welcome this decision by the Haitian government and I can tell that you can count on this purpose which is rooted in the principles of democracy," he added.

The OAS Secretary General also named other measures designed to promote disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons in the region, such as the Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisitions (CITAAC) and the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (CIFTA).

The VI Forum on CSBMs operates under the aegis of the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security which is currently chaired by the Permanent Representative of Colombia, Andrés González. The Forum was created during the First Summit of the Americas, held in Miami in 1994. In that instance, the Heads of State and Government of the Hemisphere approved a Plan of Action, in which they declared their commitment to support "actions to encourage a regional dialogue to promote the strengthening of mutual trust, paving the way for a regional conference on measures to promote confidence in 1995." Following this mandate, the member states of the OAS held the Regional Conference on Confidence Building Measures and Security in Santiago, Chile, in November 1995, where they adopted the Declaration of Santiago which gathers 11 measures agreed by States to promote trust, dialogue and interchange on matters related to hemispheric security.

During the first plenary session of the VI Forum on CSBMs Giovanni Snidle, the Alternate Representative of the United States, was elected as Chair of the Forum; and César Martínez, Alternate Representative of El Salvador, as Rapporteur of the Forum. During the Forum, the delegations of the member states are expected to discuss issues related to the review and promotion of CSBMs between the countries of the region.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event wiil be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.

Reference: E-082/15