LIMA – The Peruvian government assumed on Tuesday the presidency pro tempore of the Andean Community with the challenges of evaluating the regional integration process for the 50th anniversary of the organization next year and convening a presidential council after a seven-year hiatus.
“We’re getting closer to the historic landmark ... of completing 50 years of Andean integration,” said Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio during the ceremony held at the 42nd Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Andean Council in Lima.
Popolizio added that “it’s a propitious occasion next July to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers with the aim of evaluating the process of re-engineering the community” and electing a successor for the secretary-general, currently Bolivia’s Walker San Miguel, who will conclude his term on June 17.
In addition, the Peruvian foreign minister announced that “we will seek to promote a meeting of the Andean Presidential Council, after seven years of interruption, to commemorate half a century of regional integration and renew the political commitment initiated in 1969 in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia),” when the Andean Community was formed.
The bloc – a customs union – currently includes Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Popolizio expressed the need to disseminate the advantages provided by the Andean Community to its citizens, including cooperation with the European Union to benefit small producers in border zones and regional cooperation to combat foot-and-mouth disease.
In addition, he mentioned the development of the Andean Immigration Card, access to roaming telephone reception and the launching of an interconnected electrical grid, which Chile will join.
San Miguel, meanwhile, hailed the bloc’s actions to facilitate information exchange on declarations of value for foreign trade and the updating of Andean regulations on plant diseases, going on to thank all member countries for their cooperation during his five-year term.