Bolivia

OAS Assembly in Fort Lauderdale adopts declaration on situation in Bolivia

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida - The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) by acclamation passed a declaration today expressing the Organization's readiness to "provide all cooperation that may be requested by the legitimate Bolivian authorities to facilitate dialogue as a means of surmounting the crisis and guaranteeing the preservation of democratic institutions." President Carlos Mesa's resignation last night touched off the present political crisis in Bolivia.

After hearing a report by Minister of Foreign Affairs Juan Ignacio Siles to the Assembly this morning, the hemisphere's foreign affairs ministers gathered in Fort Lauderdale expressed concern over the worsening political crisis that led to the resignation of the Bolivian president. They stressed that the resignation of the Bolivian president needs to be considered "in terms of the statutory channels established in the country's Constitution."

The foreign ministers of the 34 member states adopted the declaration, bearing in mind the provisions of OAS Charter and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

In the declaration the OAS also calls upon actors in the Bolivian political process "to surmount the present crisis promptly, through dialogue, in a peaceful fashion, and with respect for human rights, in accordance with applicable constitutional provisions, preserving democracy and guaranteeing the unity of Bolivia."

Siles urged the foreign ministers to support the individual whom the constitution establishes as successor to the office of President. He said Mesa's decision to resign as president is a "most noble act that affords Bolivia an opportunity to find a solution to the grave crisis it is experiencing."

The Bolivian foreign minister asked the OAS member states to "closely monitor the situation to ensure that all political and social actors strictly adhere to the democratic order so that decisions would be based on clear understanding among Bolivians, tolerance, social harmony and human dignity as fundamental values around which to build democracy in our countries."