UNASUR: “We have decided to construct a mutual commitment to defence and peace, rejecting the use of force against another State”

28.08.2009 - Bariloche - Pressenza IPA

In the midst of the to-ing and fro-ing, the mentions in history of Yankee bases in the region and some bad-humoured presidents, the final document of the summit was approved this afternoon in the Union of South American Nations held in Bariloche, Argentina. The main issue was the divisive installation of US military bases in Colombia. In the final document of the meeting that took place in Hotel Llao Llao it was stated that *“UNASUR promotes dialogue, cooperation, trust and transparency. It also rejects the presence of armed groups and drug-trafficking therefore we have decided to build a mutual commitment to defence and peace, rejecting the use of force against another State.”*

The consensus was reached after a recess in which the opportunity was taken to take the official summit photograph, in which three Presidents were missing having stayed behind in the debate.

In another of the final document’s points it defended *“the non-interference in internal matters of the peoples in order to guarantee regional integration”* and it pronounced in favour of *“peace and the preservation of natural resources”.*

The differences between the Heads of State could not be bridged despite the best efforts of diplomats from Brazil, Chile and Argentina to lower the tension in the discussions and reduce the regional emotions provoked by the recent military pact between the USA and Colombia.

During the debate, Alvaro Uribe, President of Colombia, fiercely defended the decision by his country to allow the USA to use military bases to combat drug-trafficking.

In a press conference held afterwards at the scene of the gathering, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her Ecuadorean counterpart, Rafael Correa, emphasised the advance reached in UNASUR and agreed that the gathering was able to deliberate on subjects that had not been dealt with before.

*“The approved document was very important to start to reconstruct trust through verification mechanisms. It’s paramount to reconstruct trust in diplomacy. We have taken an important step because this public meeting didn’t blow up, despite the different positions,”* pointed out the Argentinean President.

*“There was decision and respect. We all want to live in a region of peace. You can’t introduce the doctrine of unilateralism in Latin America. We have nothing to do with preventative wars or unilateral decisions. We don’t want wars.”*

For his part, the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, affirmed that *“it’s a step forward” to have debated the issue of US bases in Colombia”* and he said that *“It’s not like there weren’t conflicts before. There has always been. What wasn’t there before was such a frank discussion.”*

*“Never before have we discussed foreign bases in South America, and we used to have them in Ecuador for example,”* and he pointed out the creation of *“criteria and rules”*.

On a different subject he said that it would be *“very difficult”* to re-establish diplomatic relations with neighbour, Colombia, *“before March”* and maintained that *“it is necessary to rebuild trust”*.

*“Uribe has asked for forgiveness once again. We have had new approaches today in UNASUR. There is the will… With the USA bases in Colombia, the existing balance of powers is being further broken, because Colombia has an army that’s even bigger than Brazil’s”.*

He also pointed out that *“we can’t trust in legal guarantees”* in treaties and took as an example the US invasion of Iraq and TIAR (Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance).

*“What use was TIAR during the Malvinas War?”* Correa said recalling that the United States gave assistance to the British during the bloody conflict of 1982.

The complete approved document in Spanish can be found at:

full text here

Categories: International, Politics, South America

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