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Closing remarks of Army General Raul Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba at the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Havana, 29 January 2014

Esteemed Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of Delegations;



Distinguished guests;



Allow me to say a few words before going over to the ceremony to hand over the Pro-Tempore Presidency to the Republic of Costa Rica.



The celebration of the Second Summit of our Community marks the end of Cuba’s one year Pro Tempore Presidency, which we tried to carry out in a serious and responsible way.



We have received a valuable support from all of you and I would like to convey to you the deepest gratitude of the government and the entire Cuban people for your participation in these days of broad and profound discussions of our countries’ biggest concerns.



The documents adopted at this Second Summit have reaffirmed our commitment with the values that led to the foundation of CELAC and our strong belief that unity amid diversity as well as the Latin American and Caribbean integration are the only viable alternatives for the region.



We have reached important agreements on transcendental issues, such as the promotion of a “Zone of Peace” in the region and the rules and regulations required to ensure that the intraregional and extraregional cooperation brings about tangible benefits for this community.



CELAC has reiterated, among other aspects, the unrestricted respect for the Purposes and Principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law.



It has reaffirmed that, in order to eradicate poverty, it is indispensable to change the present world economic order, promote solidarity and cooperation and demand compliance with the development assistance commitments that have been entered into.



Emphasis has been made on the importance of the State’s permanent sovereignty over their natural resources.  We intend to establish the best ways to exercise that right.



We likewise expressed our firm determination to work in order to cope with the challenges posed by the international situation and make every effort to promote equity and social inclusion, eradicate discrimination, inequalities, marginalization, human rights violations and the infringements of the Rule of Law.



Cuba will continue to work indefatigably within CELAC, and particularly as a member of the Quartet during the present year, to ensure the continuity of the process of consolidation of our Community.



Once again, thank you very much to all of you for your presence and your contribution to the works of CELAC in 2013 and at this Summit.



And now I have the honor to proceed to hand over the Pro Tempore Presidency of CELAC to Her Excellency Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica, to whom we wish every success in her endeavors.



Madam President, I am pleased to give you the floor.
CELAC- CUBA