Four of the five members of the Andean Pact Countries -- meeting in Peru -- signed an agreement on Monday night (12 November) creating a permanent Foreign Minister's Council, aimed at co-ordinating a common external policy.
Four of the five members of the Andean Pact Countries -- meeting in Peru -- signed an agreement on Monday night (12 November) creating a permanent Foreign Minister's Council, aimed at co-ordinating a common external policy. The fifty member country -- Bolivia -- was not invited to sign because of what was called its "leadership crisis". On Sunday (11 November), meanwhile, a memorial mass was held in La Paz for then more than two hundred people estimated to have been killed in street rioting since has military coup on November this first.
SYNOPSIS: The memorial mass was celebrated in the Central Cemetery church in La Paz. It was attended by six hundred friends and families of those who were killed in clashes with the military. In their sermons, priests said the dead were heroes who had left an example of how to fight for democracy and liberty against the military. Priests said the military -- instead of defending the people -- were against them.
After the mass, former President, Walter Guevara Arze, told thousand of cheering supporters that the only solution to the Bolivian crisis was the removal of the military regime. As popular opposition to the government of Colonel Alberto Natusch increases, representatives of the armed Forces, labour and congress have been trying to negotiate a peaceful solution to the two-week old crisis.
Bolivia's partners in the Andean Pact met in lima, to discuss the question. Spanish Foreign Minister Marcelino Oreja Aguirre, arrived for the meeting only as an observer. The Pact Countries -- Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela; Peru and Bolivia -- are linked in a common market, the strongest regional grouping on the South American continent.
The Colombian Foreign Minister, Diego Uribe, was the next to arrive and he was greeted by the Peruvian Foreign Minister Carlos Garcia Bedoya. At the signing of the agreement on Monday night (12 November), the Pact members excluded Bolivia. They said that the Permanent Foreign Ministers's Council will come into effect only when Bolivia has signed the agreement.
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister Juan Antonio Zambrano, and his delegation were also greeted by Senor Garcia.
At the Monday night meeting, the Andean Ministers unanimously condemned the coup led by Colonel Natusch, claiming it was an "assault against democracy".