OAS Countries Ratify Declaration of the Group of Rio
in Resolution Rejecting Colombian Incursion
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OAS member countries approved on Tuesday morning a resolution rejecting the violation of the Ecuadorian sovereignty by Colombia.
The document, approved by the 25th Meeting of Consultation of OAS Ministers of Foreign Affairs, despite the United States’ reservation, ratifies the Declaration issued by the last Summit of the Group of Rio, held on March 7, 2008, in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.
The President of this Meeting, Dominican Foreign Affairs Minister, Carlos Morales Troncoso, read loud the Resolution including nine considerations and recommendations. The first one was the decision of receiving “with great satisfaction the Declaration of the Heads of State and of Government of the Rio Group.”
The text recognizes that “the agreements reached on that occasion helped to pave the way toward overcoming the differences between Ecuador and Colombia.”
The OAS minister of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed “the full applicability of the principle of territorial sovereignty, enshrined unrestrictedly and without any exception in Article 21 of the OAS Charter, as a vital principle for harmonious relations among the nations of the Americas.”
Likewise, they reaffirmed “the full applicability of the principles enshrined in international law of respect for sovereignty, abstention from the threat or use of force, and noninterference in the internal affairs of other states, which are embodied in Article 19 of the Charter and are founding principles of the inter-American system—principles that are binding on all its member states in all circumstances.”
Also, they rejected “the incursion by Colombian military forces and police personnel into the territory of Ecuador, in the province of Sucumbíos, on March 1, 2008, carried out without the knowledge or prior consent of the Government of Ecuador,” and stressed it “was a clear violation of Articles 19 and 21 of the OAS Charter.”
The OAS countries also took “note of the full apology for the events that occurred and the pledge by Colombia, expressed by its President to the Rio Group and reiterated by its delegation at this Meeting of Consultation, that they would not be repeated under any circumstances.”
In the declaration, the OAS countries “reiterate the firm commitment of all member states to combat threats to security caused by the actions of irregular groups or criminal organizations, especially those associated with drug trafficking.”
They instructed “the Secretary General to use his good offices for the purpose of cooperating in the restoration and strengthening of cooperation between Ecuador and Colombia in the monitoring and security of its borders, examining the possibility of implementing, with the agreement of both countries.”
Regarding the report submitted by the commission headed by the Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, who visited Ecuador and Colombia, it states that the foreign affairs ministers “took note” and thanked the countries comprising such commission: Haiti, Argentina, Brazil, Panama and Peru.
Finally, they asked the OAS Secretary General to present a report on this resolution in the next OAS General Assembly, to be held in Medellín, Colombia.
"Victory for Ecuador"
The Ecuadorian foreign Affairs, María Isabel Salvador, celebrated the resolution, drafted after a difficult negotiation, as a “victory” for her country.
“The resolution undoubtedly is a victory for Ecuador,” she said as she stressed that the document absolutely includes “all the elements” of the original resolution presented by Ecuador after the bombardment.
She explained that while the text “explicitly” adopts the declaration of the Group of Rio, “the difference is that the Group of Rio is comprised by Latin American countries; now we have achieved the ratification of these resolutions by all the OAS member countries.”
Salvador recognized that there was a strong confrontation among some members and that “the consensus was achieved by a reduced group.”
“There was a contribution made by some foreign affairs ministers: Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico (…) Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela,” she said and celebrated that the deadlock was overcome thanks to them.
“Maybe this is one of the mechanisms that should be reviewed by the OAS,” she pointed out as she referred to the fact that one country’s opposition can put obstacles in a forum.”
“Obstacles are due to the Colombian delegation’s intransigent position and clear interest in including issues that did not correspond to the central issue, which was the violation to sovereignty,” she explained.
On the other, hand, the United States objected a paragraph of the declaration, since it considered that it omitted a country’s “the right” to “defend itself.”
"Victory of Peace”
The Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister, Nicolás Maduro, assured that the resolution represents the victory of peace and justice against the warmonger positions of some nations.
“Peace has succeeded, as well as Latin America, the Caribbean, and the region’s big will and peace awareness.”
He considered that the position expressed in the resolution delivers “a crystal clear message (…) against boycotts, and intrigues.”
“Who boycotted? It’s crystal clear: the government of the United States; we all knew it and could smell it in the corridors,” he said.
He assured that the victory achieved at the OAS “reaffirms a path whose construction is underway.” The Latin American countries “played as a team and won,” Maduro stressed.
The Venezuelan foreign affairs minister said that the Latin American countries were the big winners in this ”game of peace.”