Media Center

Press Release


  November 13, 2003

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, addressing the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council in Washington today, emphasized his country’s commitment to the Western Hemisphere body.

The first Italian head of state to visit the OAS, President Ciampi declared his visit to be more than merely a formal gesture, and confirmed that, as a Permanent Observer to the OAS, Italy would once again establish a separate Permanent Observer Mission to the OAS. He underscored to Permanent Council Chairman Ambassador Salvador Rodezno of Honduras, Assistant Secretary General Luigi R. Einaudi, in charge of the General Secretariat and to the Permanent Representatives the importance Italy attaches to its relations with the OAS as well as with the nations of the Americas.

“Italy and Europe support the Organization of American States,” he told the protocolary session of the Permanent Council, called in his honor. Emphasizing the need for “more international cooperation, not less,” to tackle “the great issues and problems of the 21st century,” the President described unilateral solutions as unsatisfactory.

He said the OAS has an important role to play in enhancing international cooperation, stressing that “there is a strengthened and enlarged European Union on the other side.” He expressed optimism about the direct dialogue initiated between the EU and the OAS, adding, “the Italian Presidency of the Union has strongly advocated this.”

President Ciampi also thanked the Council Chairman and the Assistant Secretary General for expressing solidarity with the people of Italy and Iraq over the tragic deaths in Nasiriya, Iraq, earlier this week after a terrorist attack. He explained that Italian personnel are in Iraq to help fight international terrorism as well as to support the Iraqi people in setting up their own government and their own institutions as soon as possible, “with the consensus of the Iraqi population, within a context of freedom and democracy.”

In welcoming the Italian President, the Assistant Secretary General extolled Italy’s significant contribution to the Americas in important fields of endeavor. He also spoke about the common bonds, noting: “Today, Italy and the countries of the Americas enjoy a common foundation for participatory democracy, trade and direct investment, security and the rule of law.” He pointed as well to a visit to the OAS by a European Union and Commission delegation last September, saying it has expanded EU/OAS relations.

Reiterating the importance of cooperation, Ambassador Einaudi noted the growing realization that “our common civilization requires greater cooperation among all of us if it is to survive.”

The Permanent Council Chairman praised Italy’s close ties with the nations of the hemisphere and its “active support,” especially for peace processes and democratic stability and sustainable development programs in Central America and the Caribbean. He cited as well Italy’s special relations with South American countries and its generous contributions towards easing grave economic situations and to help in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, among other actions.

Reference: E-219/03