Media Center

Press Release


  September 29, 2004

Commending the peoples of the United States and Panama, the Organization of American States’ (OAS) member countries said today that the 25th anniversary of the Panama Canal Treaties between those two states underscores the triumph of goodwill and cooperation and stands as a great example to the Americas and the world at large.

In a resolution the OAS Permanent Council adopted at its regular session, the member state delegations underscored how negotiation, dialogue and a spirit of equity, have helped give concrete expression to “the just aspirations of Panama to recover full control of its territory and administer the inter-oceanic route.”

Signed at OAS Headquarters on September 7, 1977 by then U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian President Omar Torrijos, the Panama Canal Treaties entered into force on October 1, 1979. The transition process launched by the treaties culminated on December 31, 1999 when the Canal and the adjacent lands, waters and facilities were turned over to Panama.

Sponsored jointly by the delegations of the United States and Panama, the resolution further underscored Panama’s “noteworthy success” in efficiently administering and seeking to modernize the important inter-oceanic waterway.

Panama’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Arístides Royo, declared that “while Panama was very tenacious in seeking to have Panamanians administer the Canal, the United States demonstrated profound goodwill in the quest for a settlement to the problem.” He also expressed appreciation for the OAS’ support to his country during this process.

In his remarks, the United States Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador John Maisto, noted that the Panama Canal is of vital economic and commercial importance to the OAS and to the world. “The United States is the Canal’s largest user and more than 60 per cent of the Canal’s traffic originates from or is destined to ports on the East Coast of the United States.” He stressed that to honor its treaty obligation, “the United States relinquished control of the Canal to Panama, on December 31, 1999, as promised.”

Meanwhile, before concluding their meeting, the Permanent Council members paid tribute to Ambassador Valter Pecly Moreira, as he said farewell as Brazil’s Permanent Representative to the OAS. Secretary General Miguel Ángel Rodríguez and the member states’ ambassadors joined in praising Pecly Moreira’s diplomatic skills as well as his service and commitment to his country and the hemisphere since he arrived at the OAS in June 2000.

Reference: E-169/04