June 24, 1999
STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE OAS
PERMANENT COUNCIL AMBASSADOR JULIO CESAR ARAOZ
In the wake of press accounts in Colombia about extortion in the recent kidnapping of various groups in that country, the Chairman of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Julio César Araoz of Argentina, strongly condemned this as criminal practices, saying they constituted an act of international terrorism and a gross violation of international humanitarian law.
Ambassador Araoz said that the Permanent Council supported efforts by the government of President Andrés Pastrana towards dialogue in the quest for peace and to restore peaceful coexistence among Colombians. The Permanent Council Chairman also called on the National Liberation Army (ELN) to release all its hostages and to refrain from resorting to such a reprehensible practice.