APRIL 2003
Page 2 of 7


white cube IPU Conference
white cube Editorial: Chile, never absent for long from the international political scene
white cube IPU News: The IPU and the international crisis relating to Iraq
white cube Dossier:Parliamentary Conference on the WTO in Geneva
white cube Gender Issues: Women in parliaments
white cube IPU Activities: Meeting of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians
white cube Parliamentary Developments

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The World of Parliaments

Conference logo Chile, never absent for long from the international political scene

Chile, never absent for long from the international political scene, is now hosting the 108th Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Santiago from 6 to 12 April 2003.

As Senate President Andrés Zaldívar says in our pages, Chile "has a long parliamentary tradition - despite a few unfortunate interruptions". Thanks to this tradition, Chile, a country committed to multilateralism, has a head start in promoting democratic institutions. Prior to the conflict in Iraq, Chile played a leading role in negotiations to bring fellow members of the UN Security Council towards a consensus that unfortunately never saw the light of day. Against the backdrop of a world in turmoil, the 108th Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Santiago will give delegates of more than 120 delegations the chance to stage bilateral and multilateral meetings to talk over the international crisis. It will also give parliamentary diplomacy an opportunity to bring its influence to bear on the situation.

Chile is also present in international parliamentary realms because one of its Senators, Mr. Sergio Páez, was elected President of the IPU Council in September 2002. Mr. Páez is keenly aware of the volatile situation that is sapping international cooperation and is convinced that the voice of the people and the parliaments that represent them must be heard. In February, he issued a declaration stating that the IPU firmly believes that all institutional mechanisms that can lead to a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis should be employed to the full. "The forum" he said "for resolving the issue relating to Iraq is the United Nations Security Council and all action taken against that country should have the express authorization of that body".

The Meeting of Women Parliamentarians will be chaired by Chilean MP Isabel Allende, daughter of former President Salvador Allende, the man who went down in history for his willingness to defend his political convictions and the mandate to which he was elected in 1970. Mrs. Allende has just been elected President of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies.

Another Chilean MP present on the international scene is Juan Pablo Letelier who has been working for some years to enhance the visibility of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which he chaired for two years. The Chairmanship has now passed to the Minister of Employment and Labour and Chief Government Whip of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe (see p. 7).

Last but not least Chilean MP Juan Antonio Coloma has also been playing an active role within the IPU as President of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Environment.



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