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OAS Observer Countries Reaffirm Commitment; Applaud Hemispheric Effort to Fight Drugs

  June 5, 2013

Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, joining the member states’ Heads of Delegation in the Guatemalan city of La Antigua for a dialogue with representatives of thirty seven observer countries, thanked the permanent observer countries for their ongoing commitment to and support for the Organization’s activities.

The dialogue, on Tuesday, was among activities held ahead of the inauguration of the forty-third regular session of the OAS General Assembly, from June 4 to 6.

“Permanent observer support has had a tremendous impact on this Organization’s work, especially in the areas of democracy promotion, human rights, humanitarian demining, conflict resolution, combating drug trafficking and terrorism, promoting gender equality, and sustainable development, among others,” the Secretary General stated.

In terms of specific programs for which the OAS received contributions over the past year, the Secretary General cited the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP), the Program for Universal Civil Registry and the Right to Identity (PUICA), the Office in the Belize-Guatemala Adjacency Zone, and Electoral Observation Missions.

Mr. Insulza went on to explain that “these dialogues, which began in 2004 at the General Assembly in Quito, Ecuador, provide an opportunity to exchange views on the issues and priorities of the inter-American agenda, particularly on the central theme of the General Assembly. Since their inception, we have continued to explore ways to enrich and deepen them.”

He touched on the theme of the forty-third regular session of the General Assembly, “For a Comprehensive Policy against the World Drug Problem in the Americas,” and on the contribution made by the OAS through the Report on the Problem of Drugs in the Americas, which proposes a variety of approaches to address it and hypothetical future scenarios. “This is an issue that affects our countries and our citizens in terms of health, consolidation of democracy, human rights, security, access to justice, and economic development, among other areas,” he said.

Guatemala’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Fernando Carrera Castro, meanwhile, noted that the purpose of the dialogue with the observers was to “share ideas about the central theme of the Assembly and about the contribution that those countries are making in support of mandates the OAS has received.” Foreign Minister Carrera also expressed the Guatemalan government’s hope that the General Assembly would encourage debate among member states to facilitate progress on a comprehensive policy to combat drugs.

During the dialogue, the representatives of Spain, the European Union, France, Italy, Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, the Russian Federation, Estonia, Serbia, the Netherlands, Monaco, Croatia, Portugal, China, Austria, the Philippines, India, Thailand, and South Korea shared their own countries’ experiences and perspectives regarding efforts to tackle drug trafficking, as well as lessons learned and examples that could serve as a basis and for analysis for Western Hemisphere countries.

In their statements, the observer country delegates announced future support for specific OAS programs. They also commended the initiative to approach the issue of drugs from a joint perspective, and applauded the multi-sectoral perspective outlined in the Report on the Drug Problem, recently prepared by the OAS. They noted further that the region had unique characteristics, principles, and priorities that should be considered as a central part of the debate on drugs.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-223/13