Union of South American Nations Foreign Affairs ministers meet Friday in Quito to formally launch the group’s treaty and charter and begin discussions on a successor for deceased former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner who was the first Secretary General of Unasur.
Convened by Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo who holds the pro tempore presidency, representatives from the twelve country members will hold a symbolic session in the ‘Half of the World’ complex (Equator line) to ratify the founding text and charter which created Unasur back in 23 May 2008, in Brasilia.
Following a month from the approval of the treaty by the Uruguayan Congress, Unasur becomes official Friday. Uruguay was the ninth member to subscribe the treaty as requested by the charter for it to become effective.
Other countries to have previously complied with the approval of the support were Argentina, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam, Bolivia and Colombia; only two countries still have to comply, Brazil and Paraguay.
President Rafael Correa, from Ecuador as the host country, will be present at the event and at the founding stone for the future Unasur headquarters ceremony, which will be named after former president Nestor Kirchner.
Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patiño said that the fact Unasur becomes effective will help political understanding and coordination among countries of the region and integration in areas such as infrastructure, health, education, social inclusion and energy development among others.
“What we are talking about is for agreements to go much further, not limited to trade issues but also to regional integration”, said Patiño pointing out to the benefits of an energy connectivity in the Andes area and integrated social security.
Another issue in the agenda is agreeing on a new Unasur Secretary General, vacant since the death of Nestor Kirchner.
Two are the main candidates, so far: Venezuela’s Electricity minister Ari Rodriguez, an energy expert, and Maria Emma Mejia a former Colombian Deputy Foreign Affairs minister, expert in International Law and Social Inclusion.
However a final decision which must be unanimous is expected sometime in the future.
Unasur brainchild of Brazilian diplomacy in this first stage is limited to South American countries. In a second stage it will bring together the rest of Latin American countries.
Since its short existence Unasur has proved effective in defusing several regional conflicts particularly the confrontation between Venezuela and Colombia.