Foreign Affairs ministers from the Union of South American Nations, Unasur, gathered in Ecuador Friday for their first meeting as a legally constituted organization agreed on the names to fill the post of Secretary General, vacant since the death of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner.
Colombia’s former Deputy Foreign Secretary Emma Mejía will be occupying the post for the next twelve months beginning April, while Venezuela’s Minister of Electricity Ari Rodriguez will hold the post on the following twelve months.
Ms Mejía thanked Unasur members her naming as the new secretary general and underlined the significance of succeeding an emblematic figure such as the former Argentine president Kirchner.
“I am most thankful to the eleven countries that unanimously have decided to re-establish through the organization’s Secretariat, the replacement for a man that has proved so emblematic as was the former Argentine leader Nestor Kirchner”, said Ms Mejia in her first statements from Bogotá.
Following her naming for the job Ms Mejia met with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos in Casa de Nariño, Colombia’s Government House.
Ms Mejia a former Foreign Affairs official and an expert in International Law and social inclusion is scheduled to take office next April.
The second half of the two year mandate of the Secretary General will be completed by the other candidate for the job, Venezuela’s Ari Rodriguez.
Unasur was officially launched in Brasilia in 2008 but only managed to become effective a month ago when the Uruguayan parliament approved the constitution charter, the ninth member in doing so as requested by the original statutes.
The decision to have the two candidates share the two year mandate sends a strong unity message and avoids a painful political confrontation between two neighbour countries that until a year ago were undergoing a serious deterioration of bilateral relations.
Unasur member countries includes: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Paraguay, Surinam, Uruguay, Venezuela and Colombia. Only Paraguay and Brazil still have to approve the founding charter.