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OAS Permanent Council Continued Preparations for the General Assembly of Antigua, Guatemala and Welcomed the Representative of The Bahamas

  May 8, 2013

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today continued preparations for the General Assembly of Antigua, Guatemala, in a regular meeting in which it welcomed the new Permanent Representative of The Bahamas, Elliston Rahming.

The Council, meeting at its headquarters in Washington, DC, authorized the General Secretariat to extend invitations to 67 civil society organizations, not registered with the OAS (17 from Guatemala; 7 each from the United States and Mexico: 6 from Chile; 4 each from Argentina, Colombia and El Salvador; 3 from Brazil; 2 each from Bolivia, Ecuador and the United Kingdom; and 1 each from Canada, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela), as well as other private sector organizations and international non-governmental organizations, which require special authorization to attend the 43rd OAS General Assembly to be held from June 4 - 6.

The Permanent Council, at its meeting on April 17, had already authorized the General Secretariat to extend invitations to the Assembly to 29 Inter-American agencies; 64 United Nations agencies and other international organizations; 433 civil society organizations already registered with the OAS (73 from the United States;, 50 from Colombia; 48 from Argentina; 29 from Mexico; 26 from Brazil; 25 from Peru; 19 from Venezuela; 16 from Ecuador; 13 from Canada, the Dominican Republic and Chile; 10 from Costa Rica; 9 Guatemala and Honduras; 8 from Bolivia and Spain; 7 from Panama; 6 from Paraguay; 5 from the United Kingdom and Switzerland; 4 from Uruguay and France; 3 from El Salvador; 2 from Barbados, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana; and 1 from Belize and Saint Lucia); 32 organizations that were not registered, 2 workers organizations and 15 private sector organizations.

The Council also heard a presentation by the delegation of Guatemala on the state of preparations and the details regarding travel of the delegations that will attend the event, to which the Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the organization are called on to attend each year. The Guatemalan delegation also reported the launch of the national website for the Assembly, which joins that of the 67 OAS General Secretariat already in operation.

In his presentation to the Council, Ambassador Rahming recalled that his country was the 31st member to join the OAS and that this year marks 31 years since the incorporation of the Bahamas into the hemispheric organization in 1982. “In a few weeks, The Bahamas will also be celebrating its 40 years of independence, and I am pleased to be assuming the mantle during this celebratory period," added the diplomat.

Ambassador Rahming emphasized his country's commitment to the principles and pillars of the OAS and said "we must continue to address the challenges that face our region including, among others, our efforts to combat and eliminate terrorism, human trafficking, the illicit trafficking in drugs and firearms, while we tackle development issues to promote democracy and guarantee fundamental human rights for all our citizens."

At another point on the agenda, the Council requested an updated report on alternatives in the real estate strategy of the organization from the Secretariat for Administration and Finance, in order to find the necessary funding to undertake the reforms that are needed in the offices of the OAS. The report should be presented to the Permanent Council in September.

The Council also charged its Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs (CAAP) with the presentation of a methodology to close the discussion on the prioritization of the mandates of the hemispheric organization.

The Permanent Council, through its Chair and Permanent Representative of Panama, Arturo Vallarino, and several ambassadors from other countries, expressed its condolences and solidarity with Mexico this week, after the explosion of a truck carrying gas which left more than 20 people dead. The supreme permanent organ of the OAS also congratulated Brazil on the election of Roberto Acevedo to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO); the first Latin American to be elected to the post.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-182/13