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Terrorism on Agenda For OAS Ministers - 2002-06-02


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell flies to Barbados late Sunday to join in the annual foreign ministers' meeting of the Organization of American States. The agenda for the 34-nation OAS session will include the fight against terrorism and political tensions in Venezuela and Haiti.

The United States and about a dozen other OAS member countries in Barbados were the first to sign the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism. The agreement was spawned by debate at the last OAS ministerial meeting, in Lima, Peru, that coincided with the terror attacks in New York and Washington in September. It commits member countries to share intelligence on terrorist groups, freeze terrorists' assets and cooperate in the prosecution of terrorist suspects.

U.S. officials say Secretary Powell, in a stay in Barbados of less than 24 hours, will try to mobilize OAS members to press Haitian leaders to end the political impasse, stemming from disputed elections there two years ago, that has blocked economic aid to the impoverished country.

They say Mr. Powell will also urge his colleagues to support reconciliation in Venezuela, where the political atmosphere remains polarized after President Hugo Chavez was briefly deposed in a military-led uprising in April.