Statement of the Co-Chairs of the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Summit of the Americas Nations, Minister of Foreign Affairs Josť Miguel Insulza, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy
(Released in Guatemala City, Guatemala, June 7, 1999)
It has been one year since the Heads of State and Government of the Americas signed the Declaration and Plan of Action of Santiago, which formalized the Summits as the supreme forum for hemispheric relations, and we are very pleased to note the significant progress made in the implementation of the mandates adopted in Santiago, Chile.
Our Heads of State and Government entrusted us with a collective responsibility to oversee the process of implementation of the Summit mandates, a responsibility that we are fulfilling by means of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) with the assistance of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the World Bank.
In the Plan of Action of Santiago, our Heads of State and Government assigned the Office of the Secretary General of the OAS responsibility for serving as a record-keeping mechanism (the institutional memory of the process) and for providing technical support to the SIRG. We wish to express, for the record, our appreciation for the measures taken by the Office of the Secretary General of the OAS for complying with this mandate, which have included the establishment of the Office of Summit Follow-Up and the dissemination, via the Internet, of all official documents relating to compliance with Summit mandates.
We note with special interest that the SIRG format, as set forth in our Caracas declaration, has allowed for a full exchange of views regarding implementation of the mandates among the competent authorities and technical. experts, especially at the meetings held in Washington, D.C., on October 29, 1998, and in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on March 9, 1999.
We are very pleased to note that the reports submitted to the SIRG by the Responsible Coordinators for each topic demonstrate that the mandates are being vigorously implemented, with the full participation of the various nations of the Americas and the support of the pertinent international organizations. We have made progress in involving civil society in the process of complying with these mandates, and we will continue to promote civic participation as a tool for cooperation and for the betterment of democratic societies in the Americas. We are grateful for the support of the international organizations in this process and hope to strengthen the coordination of efforts in the achievement of the Summit mandates. The implementation of these mandates is also dependent on financial support. In this regard special attention should be given to the resources that are being appropriated for the achievement of these mandates.
As we recalled in our declaration of June 1, 1998, in Caracas, Venezuela, the SIRG will oversee and evaluate compliance with the Summit mandates and, to that end, in the next 12 months, it will convene at least two more meetings, possibly in October 1999 and in March 2000, before the next OAS General Assembly meeting to be held in Canada in June 2000. At the XVH Meeting of the SIRG, to be held in October 1999, Chile will turn over the Chairmanship of the SIRG to Canada in order to facilitate the start of preparations for the next Summit. Chile and the United States will continue to serve as Co-Chairs.
Over the past 12 months, the SIRG has assessed the degree of compliance with the mandates in the following areas: education; civil society, corruption; prevention and control of illicit consumption of and traffic in drugs and psychotropic substances and other related crimes; terrorism; strengthening of justice systems and judiciaries; modernization of the State in labor matters; transportation; telecommunications; health technologies; and basic rights of workers.
In the coming year, the SIRG will review progress in the areas of democracy and human rights; migrant workers; strengthening regional and municipal governments; confidence- and security-building among States; strengthening, modernizing, and integrating financial markets; science and technology; regional energy cooperation; general infrastructure; fostering the development of microenterprises and small and medium businesses, property registration; women; and indigenous populations, without prejudice to returning to examine other Summit initiatives, as warranted by any major progress noted in those areas.
We assigned the National Coordinatos responsibility for working together to ensure that information on Summit activities is transmitted in a timely fashion- In addition, we assigned the Co-Chairs responsibility for continuing flexible practices in the exchange of information, bearing in mind that the purpose of the SIRG format is to allow for ongoing improvement of the process.
Drawing on its review of the work mandated by the Santiago Summit as well as on new issues identified together, the SIRG will also begin the process of developing themes that Heads of State and Government may wish to examine at their next: Summit meeting in Canada.
We reiterate the firm determination of our governments to ensure that: the Free Trade Area of the Americas is a hemispheric; priority, and we express our satisfaction with the process being carried out in Miami, pursuant to, the Trade Ministers' agreement to complete the negotiations for the FTAA no later than the year 2005. Nine negotiating groups and three committees have been meeting in successive rounds in Miami, Florida, to advance the negotiations, with a view to drafting an annotated outline or report on each of the areas by the time this first stage is completed in September 1999. These documents will be submitted for consideration by the Trade Ministers at the FTAA Ministerial Meeting to, be held in Toronto, Canada- in November 1999. The Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) has spearheaded this process and has worked on a package of business facilitation measures the countries have agreed to, adopt by the year 2000.
The process of strengthening and modernizing hemispheric institutions, initiated by the Foreign Ministers one year ago pursuant to the mandate of the Heads of State and Government of the, Americas, is forging ahead within the OAS. We hope that this process of revitalization will enable our governments to rely on the firm support of hemispheric institutions in preparing for the next Summit of the Americas, which. will take place in Quebec City in the year 2001.[SIRG/1999/V/tracker.htm][SIRG/1999/V/tracker.htm]