JERUSALEM – The secretary- general of the Organization of American States (OAS) said Wednesday that amid the rising globalization of terror, “international cooperation and the solidarity of states committed to freedom, democracy and prosperity” has been essential to thwarting attacks and staving off threats and must be continued.
Speaking before a meeting of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, which operates under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress, Almagro also praised Israel for its dedication to democracy: “In this region, Israel stands outs as a full-fledged democracy, fully committed to democratic principles, constitutional order and the rule of law."
In discussing the key elements of the war on terror, Almagro said: "One of the most dangerous elements of the threat of terrorism is that it is indiscriminate... Terror does not discriminate based on race, religion, or social status. It does not respect borders. It is hate for hate’s sake disguised by a hollow cause far removed from any meaningful outcome because in the end, violence only begets violence."
“Fighting terrorism means fighting impunity. It means creating accountability, strengthening the rule of law and our democracies," he said.
Almagro, a former foreign minister of Uruguay, described OAS as “the space where diplomacy, democracy, and human rights come together,” values he noted were shared by Israel.
Almagro also discussed the strong-standing of the Jewish communities in Latin America, saying they are “vibrant, entrepreneurial and occupy an indispensable space in our nations, culture, the arts, business, the professions, and politics. Jews in Latin America are part of the democratic forces of the region.”
World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer introduced Almagro to a diverse audience of diplomats and noted officials, including nearly all Latin American ambassadors posted in Israel. Singer praised Almagro's long record of friendship with Jews and the Jewish State and his commitment to upholding human rights, and noted that both the OAS and Israel were "born" in 1948 and were approaching their 70th "birthdays."
Asked by an audience member about the political crisis in Venezuela, the OAS secretary-general called for international pressure to be exerted for a legitimately elected government to come to power; the creation of a "humanitarian channel" to allow for medication and aid to alleviate severe shortages; the release of all political prisoners; and the reestablishment of power in the various branches of government.
In his concluding remarks, ICFR Board Member Prof. Charles Freilich praised the close ties between Israel and the Americas, as well as Israel's vibrant democracy, and prosperous and fundamentally secure society, despite its difficult surroundings and circumstances. He expressed the hope that Israel's Arab neighbors would learn from the OAS example of cooperation and one day would welcome Israel into regional organizations.