Media Center

Press Release


  October 29, 2003

Mexico City – The Special Conference on Hemispheric Security ended Tuesday evening with Mexican President Vicente Fox declaring that it had “laid the foundation for comprehensive hemispheric security.” The two-day conference was convened under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS).

President Fox said the Declaration on Security in the Americas, which the OAS’ 34 member states signed yesterday, details a wide-ranging concept of security that includes social and economic dimensions.

“Of course, our security depends on how well we tackle such scourges as drug trafficking, illegal trafficking in weapons and people, terrorism and organized transnational crime in general,” the President asserted. “But it depends, mostly, on our ability to reverse the serious inequity, poverty and underdevelopment that beset our nations. These are the main threats to stability and governance in our countries and our communities.”

Fox went on to note that the Declaration on Security in the Americas reaffirms OAS member states’ commitment to revitalizing and strengthening the hemispheric security-related organs, institutions and mechanisms, and to evaluate and examine the corresponding instruments, taking into account existing realities.

OAS Secretary General César Gaviria, meanwhile, stressed that the newly adopted concept of security respects the norms and principles enshrined in both the OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter. “There has been strong support for multilateralism as the mechanism through which to confront existing security problems.”

Addressing the foreign ministers, defense ministers and other high-level officials, Gaviria applauded President Fox and the Mexican government for their “hemispheric leadership” in hosting the meeting to discuss collective security problems.

In his remarks the conference chairman, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez, underscored the “wide-ranging, flexible and multi-dimensional” perspective the meeting had reaffirmed.

Besides signing the Declaration on Security in the Americas, the member states adopted by acclamation a declaration on the situation in Colombia, expressing solidarity with the government and people of the South American country “in their fight against terrorism and other destabilizing threats, as they defend democratic institutions.” They also adopted a declaration acknowledging the progress made by the Central American countries on the issue of “democratic security.”

Reference: E-213/03