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Working group at the OAS will look for consensus for a resolution on Cuba

WASHINGTON – The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) agreed Wednesday to create a Working Group to try to find a consensus text for an eventual resolution on Cuba. It was the last session of the Permanent Council before the OAS General Assembly.

The Working Group will be open to all OAS Member States and will start debating Thursday. The Group will have to present the result of its deliberations at the 39th OAS General Assembly, to be held June 2-3 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

At the meeting held Wednesday at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC, the permanent representatives of Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States presented three different draft resolutions on the same topic. None of them obtained enough support and, therefore, the chairman of the Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Canada, Graeme Clark, suggested creating the Working Group.

The draft presented by Honduras was titled “Draft resolution for the General Assembly to lift sanctions imposed on the Republic of Cuba.” The proposal by Nicaragua was titled “Draft resolution for the General Assembly: Revocation of Resolution VI of the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.” The US draft resolution was titled “Draft resolution for the General Assembly ‘Cuba and the Inter-American System.’

The Republic of Cuba, formally, is a member of the Organization of American States, but had its membership in the hemispheric institution suspended at the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in 1962.

The three presentations by Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States were followed by interventions from several permanent representatives of the Member States to the Organization. Among those who took the floor were: Brazil, Belize (on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Suriname, Saint Lucia, Haiti, Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago), Costa Rica, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Canada, Colombia, Guyana, Peru, Guatemala and Panama.

Most permanent representatives agreed on two issues: there is a common interest for all Member States to fully take part in the institution; and there is a need for deeper dialogue to find a consensus solution that is satisfactory for all parties. Several representatives offered to join the Working Group, but its final composition remained undefined at the Permanent Council.

Following a proposal by Nicaragua, the Permanent Council also agreed to include the debate on the draft resolutions regarding Cuba on the agenda of the General Assembly, despite it being presented out of time.

The OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, supported the proposal by Nicaragua, asked the Permanent Council for flexibility and recalled that the Heads of State of Government at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago decided recently that the OAS General Assembly was the appropriate forum to discuss the issue of Cuba.

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