AG/RES. 1379 (XXVI-O/96)
UNIVERSAL CONGRESS ON THE PANAMA CANAL
(Resolution adopted at the seventh plenary session, held on June 6, 1996)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
RECALLING resolution AG/RES. 174 (V-O/75), "Negotiations between the Governments of Panama and the United States of America on the Question of the Panama Canal," resolution AG/RES. 219 (VI-O/76), "Status of Negotiations between the Governments of Panama and the United States on the Question of the Panama Canal, and resolution AG/RES. 476 (X-O/80), "Implementation of the Panama Canal Treaties";
BEARING IN MIND that on September 7, 1977, in Washington, D.C., President Jimmy Carter of the United States of America and General Omar Torrijos, Head of Government of the Republic of Panama, signed the treaty on the permanent neutrality and the operation of the Panama Canal and the Panama Canal Treaty, known as the Torrijos-Carter treaties, the latter of which stipulates that by noon on December 31, 1999, the Canal with all its improvements will be turned over to the Republic of Panama, which will assume full responsibility for its administration, operation, and maintenance;
UNDERSCORING the importance of the Declaration of Washington signed by the heads of state and government and representatives of the American republics on September 7, 1977, in which "the importance for the Hemisphere, trade, and world navigation of agreements to ensure the accessibility and continued neutrality of the Panama Canal" was recognized;
WELCOMING the plans of the Panamanian Government for a Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, to be held in September 1997, with the participation of the governments, international agencies, public and private academic institutions, canal users, and international transport firms, for joint examination of the role of the Panama Canal in the 21st century;
EMPHASIZING that, from May 25 to 29, 1879, at the invitation of the Geographic Society (Société de géographie) of Paris, and under the leadership of Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, builder of the Suez Canal, the International Congress on Studies of the Interoceanic Canal (Congrès international d'études du canal interocéanique) was held in the French capital and concluded by deciding that the Canal should be built from the Gulf of Limón on the Atlantic Ocean to the Bay of Panama on the Pacific Ocean;
AWARE that, in the spirit of a world association to promote sustainable development, a balanced and integrated plan to address environmental, trade, and development issues must be formulated;
CONVINCED therefore that the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal should promote international cooperation, in order to achieve structured and sustainable development of the uses and resources of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the rational use and development of the Canal watershed and Panama's coastal areas, which extend for 1,700.6 kilometers on the Pacific coast and 1,287.7 kilometers on the Caribbean Sea, totaling 2,988.3 kilometers;
WELCOMING also the work of the Tripartite Commission, comprising the Republic of Panama, the United States of America, and Japan, on the studies regarding construction in the Isthmus of Panama of a sea-level canal or the expansion of the current system of locks;
REAFFIRMING its resolution AG/RES. 175 (V-O/75) and United Nations General Assembly resolution 31/142 of 1976, on the Sesquicentennial of the Amphictyonic Congress of Panama, in which it was noted that the Treaty of Perpetual Union, League, and Confederation was the forerunner of inter-American solidarity and its principles constitute the cornerstone of the inter-American system, and that the Liberator Simón Bolívar, on several occasions, mentioned the need for possibly opening a canal in Panama, the routes of which "would shorten the world's distances, strengthen trade ties" between continents, and promote trade in goods "from the four corners of the globe"; and
EMPHASIZING that a priority of the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal is to promote international cooperation in order to achieve structured and sustainable development of the uses and resources of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans,
1. To support the initiative of the Panamanian Government to convene in Panama City, in September 1997, a meeting titled Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, with the participation of governments, international agencies, public and private academic institutions, canal users, and international transport firms, for joint examination of the role of the Panama Canal in the 21st century.
2. To request the member states to render generous assistance in this endeavor.
3. To urge the competent bodies, programs, and specialized agencies of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), the Inter-American Program of Action for Environmental Protection, and the Inter-American Development Bank to study the possibility of providing assistance, within existing resources, for holding the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal.
4. To underscore the significance of the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, and to express the hope that its findings will help expand world trade as well as increase sustainable economic growth worldwide.
5. To request the Secretary General to report on the implementation of this resolution to the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh regular session.