Media Center

Press Release


  March 5, 2008

The Organization of American States (OAS), approved today a resolution that contains agreement principles that will clear the way for bringing Ecuador and Colombia closer together; names a Commission to be headed by the OAS Secretary General to visit both nations; and convenes a meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Americas, to study the situation produced by the incursion of Colombian troops into Ecuadorian territory, incorporating to its analysis elements that will arise from the tour of the diplomatic group led by José Miguel Insulza.

During a special session of the Permanent Council, which started yesterday afternoon, worked until early morning and continued its debates this afternoon, the member countries entrusted the OAS Secretary General to head a high-level Commission, composed of four OAS ambassadors, to hold talks with authorities from both nations and later submit a report to the Foreign Ministers, who will meet in Washington on March 17.
In thanking the parties involved and the Permanent Council representatives for reaching the agreement, the Secretary General noted that it demonstrates that multilateral organizations “always have an important value, when the people working in them act in good faith and good will.”

“Those who are here believe in international law because in many cases that is what allows us to survive, work and relate with one another. And we do so because we love our countries, love our Americas and because we know that when all the lights are turned off, when all conflicts end, or the conflicts that we live today and rhetoric are reduced, our people, our men and women will have to continue to live together,” Insulza said.

“That is the reason of our concern for this conflict. That is the reason for our concern for the language, for the encounters, for the troop movements, for the words that sometimes give the impression that we are at the brink of an uprising. But finally, we are not the ones who are going to pay for those words, nor pay for those conflicts. The human beings that live in those regions who have to coexist with one another will be the ones that pay,” stated Insulza.

He went on to reaffirm that, along with four ambassadors that he will name, will work “diligently” on the report that he will present to the hemisphere’s Foreign Ministers on March 17. “But we are also going to fulfill the second part (of the resolution), in which we are asked to seek paths for understanding, recommend alternatives to overcome this problem. Because it is about that: we want to overcome this problem,” he added.

Referring to the consensus reached with Colombia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, Maria Isabel Salvador, said that the Resolution adopted today reaffirms “the principle that the territory of a State is inviolable and it may not be the object, even temporarily, of military occupation or of other measures of force taken by another States, directly or indirectly, on any ground.”

During her remarks, Salvador explained that the seriousness of the March 1 incident led her Government to break relations with Colombia, but said that by means of the Resolution adopted, “today we are reassured of living in a regional environment where the rule of law governs our international relations.”

The Minister said she felt “deeply satisfied” for the OAS support and considered that the regional body “has passed a historic test, which ratifies its reason for being, as this is the organization called upon to uphold the perseverance of peace, hemispheric security and the respect of principles of international law.”

For his part, the Ambassador of Colombia to the OAS, Camilo Ospina, also expressed satisfaction for the adopted Resolution and said that the Secretary General has a great responsibility ahead of him. “It is to confront a complex situation, in a complex border, with an extensive mission, and with the basic objective of bringing the two parities closer together.” He reiterated that Colombia and Ecuador are brotherly nations who have had good relations and share a broad common dependence; “they are nations that can not consider themselves enemies by any motive, in the contrary they are nations that share a common past and future.”

Ospina noted his country’s difficult internal situation due to illegally armed groups. He said that “Colombia has been a victim of terrorism and in its struggle to overcome this scourge has relied on the region’s solidarity. The transnational and invasive terrorism, not only violates Colombia’s sovereignty, but it also disrespects the sovereignty of neighborly countries.”

Numerous delegations from the member States expressed their solidarity with Ecuador and affirmed the importance of respecting international principles enshrined in the Charter of the Organization, which underscore “the right of each State to protect itself and to live its own life does not authorize it to commit unjust acts against another State.”

All delegations that addressed the forum to welcome the approval of the Resolution, recognized the efforts carried out by the OAS Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, the Chair of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Cornelius Smith, as well as the Permanent Representative of Panama, Ambassador Aristides Royo, for promoting the bringing of the two nations closer together and facilitating the reached consensus for a conclusion.

Reference: E-067/08