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OAS Member States Present their Views to the General Assembly on National and Regional Peace and Security

  June 8, 2010

During the Third Plenary Session of the 40th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), Member State representatives continued today to address peace, security and democracy and shared their views on how to improve hemispheric cooperation on these issues.

At the session, which took place in the Museo de la Nación in Lima, the heads of delegation of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Belize, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Haiti, Panama, Bahamas, Paraguay and Dominica intervened.

The dialogue created an opportunity for representatives to present the priorities of their governments and the programs and initiatives they have undertaken on the theme of the General Assembly: peace, security and cooperation in the Americas. It was also a space for the countries represented at the OAS to present their ideas on the work and contributions the organization has made to their states and the areas and activities they want it to focus on in the next months.

Among the issues debated at the meeting were: creating mutual confidence among states, public safety, climate change, environment protection, economic recovery, trafficking of people, and institutional strengthening of the OAS, among others.

The Director of Bilateral Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affaire of Trinidad and Tobago, Gerard Greene, emphasized the issue of natural disasters and the need to have coordinated action to confront them. On the Assembly’s main theme, Greene said his country “seeks to establish a regime of peace, security and prosperity on a sustainable basis for the nation, assigning a central thrust to human development through a robust education system, lifelong learning, capacity building, institutional strengthening, and a competitive economy that is attractive to foreign investment.”

For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Culture of Costa Rica, René Castro Salazar, stressed that his country is a pioneer of disarmament in the region, adding that “peace is built, strengthened and deepened on a daily basis through the respect for human rights of the people we live with, but above all of those we disagree with.” Furthermore, he explained that “peace has been the guide that sheltered a small Central American nation that dared get rid of its army to invest its war budget in education and health.” Regarding the environment, Minister Castro announced that his country hopes to be the first in the world to declare itself “carbon neutral” and invited his counterparts to consider similar initiatives.

Expressing words of disagreement with countries of the region that have large war budgets, the Venezuelan Vice Minister for Latin America and the Caribbean, Francisco Arias Cárdenas, said that peace “means much more than the absence of war, and what we understand as the harmony of a new man, socially united and fraternal with nature and his own brothers.” The Vice Minister also added that “on the road to that objective of peace is where the concepts of cooperation and security may be understood.”

Grenada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter C. David, said that “the hemisphere’s diverse security challenges apply to all our countries” and advocated for a stronger alliance among countries to confront “the myriad challenges of transnational crime that increasingly render our states seemingly borderless, and that threaten to usurp our territorial integrity.”

Referring to his country’s concern over the rising violence as a result of drug trafficking, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International trade and Investment of Saint Lucia, Rufus George Bousquet, underlined his government’s intention of “drawing from the experiences and best practices of those countries that have made significant progress in combating the scourge and its related crimes”. He also took the opportunity to thank the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission for its work and supports it in this regard.

Agreeing with the concern over the rise in drug trafficking in the Caribbean region, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of the Bahamas, Theodore Brent Symonette, affirmed that “the best way to defend our territories, to protect our people and eliminate the criminal elements, is to contemplate all possible means of resolving our security issues. This, in great part, translates into pooling our human and financial resources with like-minded partners in the international community.”

In his speech, the Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of Paraguay, Jorge Lara Castro, reiterated the unlimited support of his country for the OAS, and for its efforts in promoting democratic processes. In terms of security, the Paraguayan delegate said security “in its broad multidimensional concept is not only the fight against violence but the possibility of constructing national and regional spaces that, on the basis of trust and integration, promote the solution to the problems of poverty and exclusion in the region.”

A common issue in many of the speeches of the ministers and delegates today were the aid efforts in Haiti. On this, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean country, Marie Michele Rey, took the opportunity to thank the OAS for its efforts as one of the institutions that coordinated reconstruction efforts in the country after the earthquake that hit the country early this year, and in which more than 300 thousand people lost their lives.

The Haitian Minister named several challenges to the reconstruction of the country and affirmed that the government she represents “has a strong will to achieve a climate of lasting stability that constitutes a fundamental condition for economic renewal and social progress. Though the challenges are immense, Haiti, with the courage of its people and the support of international solidarity, will know how to live up to this situation.”

The 40th OAS General Assembly, held in Peru from June 6 to 8, brings together the 33 active Member States of the OAS to debate priorities for the region and cooperation opportunities on the issues of the inter-American agenda.

A photo gallery will be available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-238/10