Media Center

Press Release


  September 21, 2009

The Republic of Colombia assumed Monday the Chair of the Summit of the Americas from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago at a meeting of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG), the principal organ of the Process of the Summits of the Americas.

The event, held at the Simón Bolívar Conference Room at the Headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, was attended by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, the Minister of Foreign Relations of Trinidad and Tobago, Paula Gopee-Scoon, the Minister of Foreign Relations of Colombia, Jaime Bermúdez Merizalde, and the Minister of Foreign Relations of Chile, Mariano Fernández.

The Fifth Summit of the Americas took place in April 2009 in Puerto España. The Sixth Summit will take place in Cartagena de Indias, at a date to be confirmed.

Secretary General Insulza congratulated the government of Trinidad and Tobago on the organization of the past Summit, which he said was “a great success”. He also noted with “affection and high esteem” that Colombia is assuming the Chair of the next Summit. “The Summit of Port of Spain has set the tone for future hemispheric relations and I am honored to attend the passing of the baton to the next Summit”, he said. “We are convinced that Colombia will, almost like no other, reach the goals that this Summit requires. We know that the organization will be as good as the one we have seen in the recent period, and particularly the political guidance will be broad and bright enough to vitalize this new era of Inter-American relations under a sign of unity, co-operation and peace,” he added.

Minister Gopee-Scoon said it had been “an honor and a privilege” for her country to have hosted the “historic event” of the Summit. “The outcome of the Fifth Summit would not have been possible were it not for the invaluable spirit of partnership and cooperation of each member state and our other hemispheric partners – the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States and the Summit of the Americas Secretariat, other institutions of the Joint Summit Working Group, and representatives of the peoples of our countries – civil society, the youth, labor and the private sector.”

Minister Bermúdez Merizalde stressed the “determination of Colombia, its people and its Government, to guarantee the success of the Summit.” “We hope we will have as much consensus as possible, and be able to take specific steps towards the strengthening of the Summit itself, of each and every Member State and of the multilateral organizations in the region.” “Cartagena will be host, and we hope you all will be there. We look forward to this Summit being a success for you, for the Summit itself and for all the people of this continent”, he added.

The formal transfer of the Chair was marked by the passing of the statue “Inukshuk”, described by Minister Minister Gopee-Scoon as “the Symbol of the Summits of the Americas Process, a creation of one of the first peoples’ of the Americas . It was originally used as a landmark. To travelers moving across a wilderness, it was a welcome sight, for it meant that “someone was here, you are on the right path”. For us, it is also a symbol of guidance, cooperation and the unity of our peoples. It now continues on its journey which began in Canada, with a sojourn in Argentina, then in Trinidad and Tobago and now on to Colombia.”

Reference: E-301/09