Media Center

Press Release


  June 12, 2009

Speaking at an event organized by the George Washington University’s Center for Latin American Issues on “The future of Inter-American Relations”, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert R. Ramdin, observed that “the future of Inter-American relations is now upon us.” The recent historic General Assembly in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago together marked a turning point in inter-American relations and ushered in a new and constructive environment which promises to reshape multilateralism in the Western Hemisphere.

Ambassador Ramdin noted the many achievements in democratic consolidation which have been accomplished in the last 30 years, including the adoption by all 34 Member States of a democratic framework. The role of the OAS as a unique forum for building consensus among countries of the region has been key to achieving progress in democratic governance, human rights, security and development in the region.

Ramdin noted that the ability to work together is all the more significant given the enormous diversity among the countries of the Western hemisphere in terms of economy, social development, culture, population, size, opportunities, political background and language. “The OAS is the only institution which provides the political framework for consensus building at the highest level of government and which facilitates collective constructive action on essential issues facing the Hemisphere,” stated Ramdin. The recent adoption of a resolution on Cuba is evidence of the true value of an organization such as the OAS. The consensus based resolution was a result of dialogue and reflects the commitment of all countries to forge a new era in inter-American relations.

In terms of the challenges, Ramdin offered that “there are still pending bilateral tensions and outstanding disputes among member countries” and that many of the traditional issues such as drugs and arms trafficking, discrimination, food security, energy sustainability require ongoing attention and action. He stressed that “many of the problems facing our countries are multilateral in nature and cannot be solved in isolation”. He called on countries to recognize the importance of structural peace-building to secure sustained integral development.

In expressing his support for a revitalized Inter-American agenda, the Assistant Secretary General called for some important changes including closer collaboration between the OAS and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to ensure that both institutions work in a much more coordinated manner to match mandates with adequate resources, in collaboration with the other specialized entities of the Inter American system, such as IICA and PAHO.

Ambassador Ramdin was joined on the panel by Thomas A. Shannon, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Reference: E-194/09