The election of Colombia’s Maria Emma Mejia as UNASUR secretary general shows the nation’s importance in the region, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said Monday.
“This shows that we are inserted into the region, that they respect us; she has demonstrated that she is an excellent professional, and this helps to pass the page that we were in the corner of the countries of South America,” said Holguin in an interview with Caracol Radio Monday.
Former Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Emma Mejia was elected Friday in Quito, Ecuador as one of two new leaders of UNASUR, an organization of 12 South American countries modeled after the European Union.
The term of secretary general is officially set for two years but Mejia will divide this term with Venezuelan Minister of Electricity Ali Rodriguez, who begins his stint as secretary general in 2012, as proposed by ministers from the neighboring countries.
The former Colombian foreign minister will take office in April, replacing former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner who died in October 2010 months after being appointed the first leader in the organization’s short history.
Officials from the group, which was formed in 2008, met Friday to finish the charter and formalize the treaty that will legitimize the group of nations.
“From the moment I ran as a candidate it was very clear the importance of the region and how we could strengthen it. That is ratified with this appointment,” said the new secretary general of UNASU at the presidential palace, the Casa de Nariño Friday.