United States looks at the coming Americas Summit next April in Trinidad Tobago as an opportunity to begin a new relation with Latinamerica in a “spirit of equals” since the region will have to play a crucial role in the reply to the global economic crisis.
“The global crisis will be the leading topic” at the coming summit said US Assistant Secretary for Latinamerica Thomas Shannon who added the US will not try to set out policies, but rather “helping to implement and develop policies”
Shannon participated on Thursday of an informative round at the Inter American Dialogue, next to Jeff Davidow, White House advisor for the coming Americas summit.
“We have great hopes that we can develop a new dialogue”, said the two US officials.
“President Obama will participate in a spirit of equals and perceives the meeting as an excellent opportunity to meet with the region’s leaders, exchange ideas and listen”, with a respectful attitude from all sides towards peers.
Shannon said that Washington expects the rest of the leaders to present their ideas in a “cooperation spirit”
Davidow added that President Obama would not arrive at the summit with great promises, “Obama is not Father Christmas, he won’t be carrying a bag of presents”.
The main issue which the US will want to address at the summit is the economic crisis, an issue sufficiently serious and overwhelming that relegates all other problems.
Shannon recalled that the Americas’ summit in Trinidad Tobago will take place two weeks after the London G-20 summit to address the global crisis and the US will seek to advance on the results achieved at the meeting, which will have Argentina, Brazil and Mexico representing Latinamerica.
Latinamerica has “an important role to play in the design of a global response to the crisis”, said Shannon adding that the US would like to see issues addressed in a “pragmatic” way that helps achieve results.
One of the objectives is to find ways by which the most vulnerable countries don’t suffer the full impact and collaborate with international financial institutions so that those nations can have access to the necessary credits so as to develop their own stimulus plans”.
Shannon said the US will also promote the social issues agenda of the region and increase cooperation so as to support social justice, equal opportunities and combat poverty.
“Strengthening governance and the democratic process and security” is an area of special interest for Washington as well as a green agenda to forge cooperation in climate change and maximizing energy efficiency.
In a meeting with Mexican president Calderón last January, when he still was president-elect, Obama launched the idea of an “energy alliance” with the continent, “and this could very well be in the agenda” pointed out Davidow.