On Thursday, August 25, 2016, the Council of OPANAL met in special session to receive the visit of the Hon. Mr. Eladio Loizaga Caballero, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Paraguay. The meeting, held at OPANAL Headquarters, was chaired by H.E. Mr. Víctor Núñez Cuevas, Ambassador of the Republic of Paraguay to Mexico, in his capacity as President of the Council of the Agency.
Mr. Eladio Loizaga mentioned the importance of Paraguay's participation in institutions that ensure the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He also reiterated that his country has always promoted that nuclear energy is never used for warlike purposes, that is, for the development of nuclear weapons. In that regard, the Chief of the Diplomacy of Paraguay highlighted the important work of OPANAL in the international discussions on nuclear disarmament and reaffirmed the commitment of his country to the work of the Agency.
Taking advantage of the occasion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay welcomed the signing of the definitive Peace Agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a motive of celebration for the entire Latin American and Caribbean region.
On the other hand, Ambassador Luiz Filipe de Macedo Soares, Secretary-General of OPANAL, pointed out that Paraguay actively participated in the negotiation of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), which signed on 26 April 1967 and ratified on 19 March 1969. He reminded that the negotiation of the Treaty of Tlatelolco took place at a time of great tension which had begun with the so-called missile crisis in 1962. In addition, he mentioned that, in much of the region, democracy was not in force, which did not favor understanding between countries. The Secretary-General emphasized that the negotiation and its outcome, the Treaty of Tlatelolco, were, on the one hand, an enormous achievement against all these adverse factors, but above all, for what they contributed to the world: the creation of the legal institute known as the nuclear-weapon-free zone.
The Secretary-General mentioned that the Treaty of Tlatelolco, on the verge of its 50th Anniversary on 14 February 2017, and OPANAL, have an increasingly important role in international efforts to eliminate that political shackle represented by nuclear weapons. Ambassador Macedo Soares noted that the Agency acts in support of Member States participating in multilateral forums where the issue of nuclear weapons is discussed. He emphasized that the Open-ended Working Group convened by the United Nations General Assembly, in resolution 70/33, had just approved its report, in which the Member States of OPANAL had a prominent participation.
Ambassador Luiz Filipe de Macedo Soares reminded that on 14 February 2017, the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco will be commemorated in the framework of the XXV Session of the General Conference of OPANAL, at the Ministerial level, for which he indicated that he was sure of having the presence of the Foreign Minister of Paraguay.
The OPANAL Council - currently composed of Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru - was attended by Ambassadors and representatives of the following OPANAL Member States: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.
Ambassador Patricia Cárdenas of the Republic of Colombia, thanked the Ministry for his comments on the peace process in her country, and in particular acknowledged the work of Cuba in facilitating negotiations between the two parties in this historic event. He also thanked all the countries of the region for their solidarity and support in this peace process.
The Representative of Mexico, María Antonieta Jáquez, reiterated the welcome of her government to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay and thanked Paraguay for its constant support for the promotion of nuclear disarmament. She recalled that Latin America and the Caribbean has the moral stature to promote a world free of nuclear weapons as it was before 1945.
The Hon. Ambassador Daniel Chuburu, of the Argentine Republic, welcomed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay. He also expressed his congratulations on the achievement of the peace process in Colombia. He also thanked the Secretary General of OPANAL for the preparations made for the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco. In that regard, he confirmed the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of his country and reiterated the support of his government to the work of the Agency.
The Representative of the Republic of Peru, Minister Counselor Elizabeth González, welcomed the Chancellor on behalf of H.E. Ambassador Julio Garro Gálvez, Ambassador of Peru to Mexico.
For his part, Ambassador María Eugenia Venegas Renauld, of the Republic of Costa Rica, joined the celebration for the peace agreement reached in Colombia.
Ambassador Enio Cordeiro of the Federative Republic of Brazil, after recalling the excellent state of relations between Paraguay and Brazil, expressed his approval for what happened in Colombia. He added that the negotiations had to overcome many obstacles, especially outside interference. He also stressed the importance that Latin American and Caribbean States continue to promote peace and working for nuclear disarmament.
Ambassador Leonardo Arízaga Schmegel of the Republic of Ecuador welcomed the Foreign Minister of Paraguay. He emphasized that the Latin American and Caribbean region is a Zone of Peace and, in that sense, an example for other regions of the world. He recognized and celebrated the peace process in Colombia, in line with the Proclamation of the Region as a Zone of Peace, adopted in Havana by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2014. It also noted that Latin America and the Caribbean, through its participation in instances such as OPANAL and CELAC is an example for achieving world peace.
Ambassador Fernando Antonio Pérez Memén, of the Dominican Republic, welcomed the Foreign Minister of Paraguay. He also welcomed the peace agreement reached in Colombia. He then stressed the importance of governments working for peace education and the building of a culture of peace. In that sense, he expressed his support to OPANAL for the preparation of the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
The Council of OPANAL is one of the three main Bodies of the Agency. In addition to the faculties conferred to it by the Treaty of Tlatelolco and those assigned to it by the General Conference, the Council shall ensure the proper functioning of the Control System in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty and the decisions adopted by the General Conference.