On Monday, February 22, 2017, on the occasion of the visit of H.E. Mr. Mauro Vieira, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, to the headquarters of OPANAL, an Extraordinary Session of the Council of the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL) was held.
In his welcoming address, Ambassador Luiz Filipe de Macedo Soares, Secretary-General of OPANAL, recalled that, since ratifying the Treaty of Tlatelolco "Brazil had never stopped participating in the General Conferences of OPANAL" and that "it always fulfilles and continues to comply fully with the obligations of the Treaty".
Moreover, the Secretary-General pointed out that during 2017 we will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco and OPANAL. In that sense, he recalled that according to the decision of the XXIV General Conference of OPANAL (Resolution CG/Res.11/2015), the jubilee will be commemorated within the framework of the General Conference at the ministerial level on 14 February 2017 in Mexico City.
For his part, Mr. Mauro Vieira said that throughout those 50 years the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have remained faithful to the commitment to use nuclear energy exclusively for peaceful purposes. He also recalled that 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (
The Brazilian Minister stated that "we resist the fallacy that still prevails in some sectors that nuclear weapons are essential to guarantee security among nations." He declared that, as a region, "we affirmed two years ago our commitment to the so-called humanitarian pledge in order to rectify the absence of an international legal norm prohibiting nuclear weapons" and he went on: "as the world's first denuclearized region, we have the moral authority to take those lessons beyond the ground of non-proliferation in the field of nuclear disarmament".
Mr. Miguel Ruiz Cabañas Izquierdo, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of Mexico, said that his country and Brazil are united by a common goal: "to end the paralysis of disarmament forums that has been going on for several years, at least two decades; to promote a multilateral dialogue in which all countries participate because we believe that nuclear disarmament is not only something that matters to the countries that possess nuclear weapons, quite the contrary, it is an issue that involves us all, including, of course, and perhaps primarily to non-nuclear weapon States."
For his part, the Permanent Representative of Peru to OPANAL, H.E. Mr. Julio Garro Gálvez, stated that "for the representatives before this Agency, the issue that occupies this body is, as the Secretary-General has said, a living issue, an issue on which we must continue to maintain our consultations." Moreover, he said that OPANAL "is not a temple to protect what we have done in previous decades, which has been very important, but to keep active coordination in what comes to the future and what is still lacking."
The Extraordinary Session of the Council was chaired by H.E. Mr. Enio Cordeiro, Ambassador of Brazil to Mexico, in his capacity as President Pro-tempore of the Council of OPANAL. This session was attended by Ambassadors and Representatives of the following Member States of the Agency: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.