IWS - The Information Warfare Site
News Watch Make a  donation to IWS - The Information Warfare Site Use it for navigation in case java scripts are disabled

29 October 2003

U.S. and Other OAS States Cite New Terror Threat to Western Hemisphere

OAS meeting yields declaration about security in region

By Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Terrorism, transnational organized crime, and attacks on cyber security are some of the new challenges facing the Western Hemisphere, say representatives from the countries that participated in an October 27-28 security summit in Mexico City held by the Organization of American States (OAS).

A seven-page "Declaration on Security in the Americas" issued October 28 by the United States and the other active members of the OAS at the conclusion of the Mexico City event covered a number of issues important to the hemisphere, including the need to fight new terrorist threats, "whatever their origin or motivation, such as threats to cyber security, biological terrorism, and threats to critical infrastructure." In the declaration, the nations expressed their concern that terrorists have the possibility of access to, possession of, and use of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

The declaration said that meeting the new "threats, concerns, and other challenges in the hemispheric context" must be expanded from "the traditional concept and approach ... to encompass new and nontraditional threats, which include political, economic, social, health, and environmental aspects."

Roger Noriega, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said in an October 24 pre-summit briefing that peace in the region is "built on the pillars of democracy, prosperity, and security, and our nations must take steps to defend these essential pillars."

Security is a "multi-dimensional characteristic in the Americas," said Noriega, "and we're not just speaking of the traditional threats to security or tensions among and between countries, but also social and security tensions that exist within countries that we all want to address in common and as a community."

Promoting democracy in the hemisphere was another issue discussed in the Mexico City declaration. The OAS member states called democracy "a right and an essential shared value that contributes to the stability, peace, and development" of nations in the region. The declaration said that democracy would be promoted and defended through use of the OAS Inter-American Democratic Charter and strengthening of the inter-American system for protecting human rights.

The nations also expressed their intention to address "on an urgent basis" extreme poverty, inequality, and social exclusion.

"Overcoming these unacceptable conditions is a primary task of the states of the hemisphere, which requires continued commitment and actions to promote economic and social development, and education," said the OAS member states.

Other issues addressed in the declaration included the problems of HIV/AIDS, transporting hazardous materials at sea, natural and man-made disasters, environmental deterioration, drug trafficking, and global climate change. On that latter issue, the nations expressed their commitment to "working in coordination in order to mitigate the adverse effects that global climate change could have on our states."

The entire declaration can be found on the OAS Web site at: www.oas.org.