US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived Sunday night in Lima, Peru, for her second trip to the region this year. Ms Clinton will be participating on Monday in the two-day Organization of American States General Assembly hosted by Peru.
Meeting with officials from the 33 OAS active members’ officials is not expected to be smooth. The US has strong differences with the regional power Brazil regarding Cuba, Honduras and Iran.
Other controversial issues include regional arms purchases, crime and Argentina’s sovereignty claim over the Falklands/Malvinas under British rule.
An OAS statement on regional arms control and verification methods is expected at the meeting. A draft final statement discussed at OAS headquarters in Washington last week stresses the importance of promoting arms control in the region and Latin America's commitment to remaining a nuclear-weapons-free zone.
The arms control issue was included in the OAS agenda at Peru's behest after seeing lately what it considers an alarming growth of military spending in the region -- experts speak of 150% increase over the past five years.
Regarding the Argentine sovereignty claim over the British ruled Falklands/Malvinas the US position has been that the dispute “it is a matter for both countries (Argentina and UK) to address”.
Though it may not be on the agenda, there may be debate over US-backed efforts to readmit Honduras to the OAS following its suspension in June last year over the coup that toppled President Manuel Zelaya.
OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said Honduras will come up in a free session on Monday but a Peruvian government source said some states prefer to avoid such debate for fear it could degenerate into an ideological row. For many countries in the region led by Brazil, Honduras cannot reincorporate to OAS unless Zelaya is allowed to return peacefully from exile, according to Insulza.
On Tuesday, Clinton will fly to Quito for talks with Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa and for a speech laying out the broad outlines of President Barack Obama's policies toward Latin America.
Secretary Clinton also will also travel to Colombia to meet with President Alvaro Uribe and both presidential candidates who have a run-off next June 20, Juan Manuel Santos and Antanas Mockus.
Clinton wraps up her tour late in the week in Barbados, where she will discuss issues of mutual interest, particularly crime and security, with leaders of Caribbean nations.
Earlier this year, Secretary Clinton visited Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Guatemala.