Presentation by Ambassador Valter Pecly Moreira
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the OAS
As representative of Brazil, I would like to take this opportunity to refer to the Meeting of Presidents of South America, which was held in Brasilia on August 31 and September 1, Thursday and Friday of last week.
I believe this is an issue of great importance for the Hemisphere, and not only for the South American continent, and for this reason I feel that the Organization of American States should be duly informed about the event.
I would also like, with this statement, to underline the Permanent Council's policy of considering issues that, because of their importance, are brought before it for information and possible discussion.
The Brazilian delegation has asked the Secretariat to distribute to all delegations the following documents relating to the Meeting of Presidents of South America.
As the representatives here assembled will note, the documents distributed are of two categories: some were approved by the Presidents and form part of the official proceedings released at the end of the meeting, while others reflect the understanding and position of the Brazilian government. My purpose in distributing to you the statements and speeches of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso is to make you directly aware of the ideas and motives that lay behind the convening of the Brasilia meeting.
I would beg your indulgence for not being able to submit these documents in the four official languages of the OAS.
I would now like to offer you a few succinct comments on the meeting, and to summarize its principal decisions.
The idea of bringing together the 12 Presidents of the South American countries-Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela, and Uruguay, as well as Brazil-came from the Brazilian President himself, and is one that had been maturing for several years during his presidency.
The initiative is based on a few basic premises, among which I would highlight the following four:
The "Brasilia Communiqu�," released at the end of the meeting, reflects the opinion of the 12 Presidents on the various items on the agendas of South America, Latin America, the Hemisphere and the world. The preamble to the document makes the following points:
The presidents went on to examine five issues that were considered to be priorities: 1) democracy, 2) trade, 3) integration infrastructure, 4) illegal drugs and related crimes, and 5) information, knowledge, and technology.
On the issue of democracy, which is covered in paragraphs 22 to 28 of the communiqu�, I would like to point out the following ideas:
On the issue of trade, dealt with in paragraphs 29 to 35, I would highlight the following points:
In paragraphs 36 to 43, the Presidents referred to the question of infrastructure for integration, and in general terms agreed on the following:
On the issue of illegal drugs and related crimes, examined in paragraphs 47 to 52 of the communiqu�, the following points stand out:
The chapter devoted to information, knowledge and technology, in paragraphs 53 to 59, contains the following main points:
I hope that the summary I have just given of the objectives and results of the Meeting of Presidents of South America, held in Brasilia, has helped to inform and enlighten the Permanent Council about this important initiative of the countries of South America.
Just as, in the case of Europe, integration in the field of coal and steel was the point of departure for what was eventually to become the European Union, so greater integration in the area of infrastructure could well be the touchstone of this process in South America, on which discussion began in the Brazilian capital.
South American integration, as conceived by President Cardoso and now approved, encouraged and adopted by the other Presidents of the region, addresses the particular features of South America, but it is also intended to provide a stimulus to Latin American and Caribbean integration. In fact, it is based on the understanding that subregional initiatives, or those among specific groups of countries, have been the most dynamic force in promoting Latin American and Caribbean integration, as shown in the examples of MERCOSUR, the Andean Community, the Central American Common Market, CARICOM, ALADI, and many others.
Thus, consolidating the notion of South America means making progress with Latin American and Caribbean integration, since the strengthening of cooperative structures in each of the subregions of Latin America and the Caribbean will bring benefits as well for the region as a whole.
I would like to conclude this statement with some observations that President Fernando Henrique Cardoso offered at the closing ceremony of the Brasilia meeting.
The President said that, as with anything that is new, the Meeting of Presidents of South America has aroused considerable speculation and even some suspicions.
The two days of discussion and debate in Brasilia, however, revealed something very simple. Twelve countries-neighbors, friends, fraternal republics-have identified an agenda of common concerns, common problems, and common aspirations and have decided to do what is natural: to meet to discuss them. You will note that this was the first time that all the Presidents of South America have met together.
It was clear in Brasilia how much one country can learn from another, and how much we can do to help each other. It was also clear how much needs to be done together to respond to the challenges facing our region.
In truth, what really seems strange is that this was not done long before.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.