AG/RES. 1376 (XXVI-O/96)
THE PANAMA CANAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY
(Resolution adopted at the seventh plenary session, held on June 6, 1996)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
REAFFIRMING the Declaration of Washington signed by the heads of state, heads of government, and representatives of the American republics on September 7, 1977, which recognizes the importance for the Hemisphere, trade, and world navigation of agreements to ensure the accessibility and continued neutrality of the Panama Canal set forth in the treaties concluded on that date by the governments of the Republic of Panama and the United States of America, known as the Torrijos-Carter treaties;
UNDERLINING the extraordinary importance of the historic event whereby, at noon on December 31, 1999, on the threshold of the 21st century, the Canal with all its improvements will come under the sovereign control of the Republic of Panama, which on that date will assume full responsibility for its administration, operation, and maintenance;
NOTING WITH APPROVAL that the governments of the two countries are engaged in a process of fluid and harmonious transition aimed at ensuring the continuous and efficient operation of the interoceanic waterway, with the effective cooperation of human resources, some 90 percent of whom are Panamanian technicians and workers;
CONVINCED of the necessity of a broad regional effort to prepare public opinion for and sensitize it to decision-making on the operation of the interoceanic waterway in the 21st century;
EMPHASIZING the need to establish favorable conditions for regional cooperation based on a consensus about the importance that the interoceanic canal, oceans, seas, and coastal areas, as well as the utilization of marine resources, have for human communities and for their management and rational use;
REITERATING that maintenance of the neutrality of the Panama Canal is important for trade and the security of the Republic of Panama, for the peace and security of the Western Hemisphere, and for the interests of world trade;
RECALLING resolutions AG/RES. 324 (VIII-O/78), "Deposit With the General Secretariat of the OAS of the Treaty concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal," and AG/RES. 427 (IX-O/79), "Call for Accession to the Protocol to the Treaty concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal";
POINTING OUT the urgency of adopting and executing a regional plan for preservation of the catchment basin of the Canal and biological diversity, in keeping with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development;
RECOGNIZING the decisive role of the interoceanic waterway in an open, multilateral system, which requires that the Canal be modernized in the 21st century and that its operations be adapted to the new environment created by globalization of the economy and the opening of markets, with the attendant increase in international trade; and
WELCOMING the harmonious transition process in which the two governments are engaged through their diplomatic representatives, the Panama Canal Commission, the Interoceanic Region Authority, and the Transition Commission,
1. To note with appreciation the positive actions of the governments of the United States and Panama to promptly implement the provisions of the Panama Canal Treaty and the Treaty concerning the Permanent Neutrality and Operation of the Panama Canal of 1977, known as the Torrijos-Carter treaties, which ensure the effective exercise of the jurisdiction and sovereignty of Panama over all its territory and which will culminate in the full transfer by the United States to Panama of the Canal and its facilities, in operating condition and free of encumbrances and debt, at noon on December 31, 1999.
2. To reaffirm the importance for the Hemisphere, trade, and world navigation of continuing accessibility of the Panama Canal and sustainable management of the ecosystem of its catchment basin.
3. To call on all nations of the region and the world that have not yet done so to accede to the protocol to the treaty declaring the permanent neutrality of the Panama Canal, so that at all times it will always remain secure and open to peaceful transit by ships of all nations on terms of complete equality.
4. To support the efforts of the Panamanian Government and the Panama Canal Commission to continue the modernization of the Panama Canal so that the interoceanic waterway will efficiently serve the increasing needs of sea transport and world commerce and all other exchanges beneficial to humanity.
5. To request the Secretary General, through the institutions and mechanisms of the Organization, to facilitate cooperation in the praiseworthy efforts of the Panamanian and United States governments during the transition period, which will culminate in full Panamanian control over the Canal in December 1999.
6. Further to request the Secretary General to report to the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh regular session on the implementation of this resolution.