Sunday 18th of February 2018 | Spanish | English

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, replying to an appeal from Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, has agreed to begin a dialogue with the nations of South America over defense, security and other issues. Correa is the President Pro Tempore of UNASUR, the Union of South American Nations.
The importance of this action is that UNASUR has been taken in account for second time as the convening entity to interact with the U.S> Government. Last year at the Summit of the Americas, President Barack Obama met this counterparts under the UNASUR umbrella.

The Correa letter proposing the dialogue was the product of agreements reached among South American presidents and representatives at meetings in Quito in November and August in Bariloche, Argentina. While stimulated by widespread concern over the agreement between Colombia and the U.S. to give American planes and troops access to Colombian bases, the multi-nation conversations turned constructively to the idea of initiating talks on a range of mutual issues between UNASUR countries and the U.S. government.

“We regard this as a very positive development for both UNASUR countries and the United States. It provides a new context for airing issues that transcend national borders,” said Luis Gallegos, Ecuador’s Ambassador to the United States.

The treaty setting up UNASUR (“Tratado Constitutivo de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas”) was signed on 23 May 2008 in Brasilia by the heads of state or government of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela. The treaty was inspired by the Declarations of Cuzco (8 December 2004), Brasilia (30 September 2005) and Cochabamba (9 December 2006). UNASUR aims at the cultural, social, economical and political integration of the South American peoples. The outgoing president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, was the first to hold its rotating presidency, which Ecuador’s President Correa assumed in 2009.