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On The Election of José Miguel Insulza to OAS SG

Statement on the Occasion of the Election of José Miguel Insulza to the Office of OAS Secretary General

Roger F. Noriega, Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Remarks to the Thirtieth Special Session of the General Assembly, Organization of American States
Washington, DC
May 2, 2005


This is a portentous day for the Organization of American States, and the democracies of the Hemisphere. We have seen the culmination of a spirited, principled democratic process that has resulted in a decision in which each member country of this Organization has had its say.

Secretary General-elect Insulza, the United States congratulates you. Count on the full cooperation of my delegation and the support of my Government. We extend our best to the people of Chile, who today rightfully are celebrating this achievement by one of their own.

My delegation also commends the Governments of El Salvador and Mexico and their candidates -- former President Francisco Flores and Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez -- for waging compelling and transparent campaigns that brought honor upon this Organization and their countries.

It is fair to say that their greatest interest was in building a more effective organization that reflects a region unified in the proactive defense of democracy; and they both put that noble objective above all other interests, as did we.

During the last seven months, the General Secretariat has been in capable and trustworthy hands, and my delegation wishes to take this opportunity to commend Acting Secretary General Luigi Einaudi for his exceptional leadership during this difficult, challenging, but nonetheless productive, period.

Although today's outcome favored Chilean Minister Insulza, the true winner of this process is the Organization itself.

This is an important milestone for the Organization of American States. We, the member states, now have the responsibility of transforming this occasion into a lasting commitment to give real meaning to the principles for which this Organization stands democracy, human rights, sustained economic growth, security and equitable social development.

Our election of José Miguel Insulza reflects our accord on three principles:

* Achieving unity -- democratic unity -- and not giving space to facile claims that the Hemisphere is divided along North-South lines;

* Advancing our shared values of democracy and human rights -- as enshrined in the Inter-American Democratic Charter -- in all of the Americas, including Cuba;

* Strengthening democratic institutions, so that governments that are elected democratically govern democratically, and those that fail to do so are held accountable.

We welcome Secretary General Insulza's proposal to create a new mechanism to help ensure that the benefits of democracy are extended to all the citizens of the Americas. The Permanent Council must take a more active role in anticipating threats to democracy and addressing them proactively.

These are just some of the challenges before us as we congratulate the Secretary General upon his victory. The United States pledges to do its part in helping Minister Insulza address these challenges, so that he may serve as Secretary General of a more effective, relevant, results-oriented Organization of American States that will serve the peoples of the Americas. Thank you very much.

Released on May 2, 2005

ENDS

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