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Open Debate on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait

(New York, March 12, 2003)

Statement by Ambassador Luis Guillermo Giraldo, Permanent Representative of Colombia 



Mr. President,

Colombia decided to speak in this open debate because of the relevance of this topic for the future of the United Nations and for the capacity of the Security Council to affront the threats to peace and international security.

Preserving the peace was the primary purpose of those who created the United Nations after suffering and overcoming the hardships and challenges of Second World War. We shall continue with this legacy, assuming the responsibility of taking the conducive, efficient and appropriate precautionary measures to conjure serious threats to peace.

As a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2001 and 2002, Colombia observed with concern, the Government of Iraq's non-compliance of the resolutions of the Security Council and of it's persistency in developing and preserving weapons of mass destruction which constitute a serious threat to international peace and security.

Only the menace of the use of force and the approval of Security Council resolution 1441, that gave Iraq it's last chance to cooperate unconditionally, immediately and proactively with the inspectors in it's disarmament, made possible some advances in this cooperation. Nevertheless, this cooperation is still far from being "unconditional, immediate and proactive". That is why Colombia considers that the Government of Iraq continues to fail the international community and has opened a gap for the application of the "serious consequences" announced in resolution 1441.

Mr. President,

The debates that have taken place in this Security Council during the last months highlight a grave division in this fundamental organ for peacekeeping and maintaining international security. Colombia calls upon the unity of the Security Council in these moments of particular importance for the future of the institution, of the United Nations and of multilateralism.

We must have in account that the Iraqi government has transgressed the basic norms of international law when attacking their neighbors and while using weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqi people deserve one leadership that guarantee national harmony and peaceful coexistence with the neighboring countries and with the international community

We cannot be mistaken at the dilemma posed to the Security Council, of either disarming the Government of Iraq through the pacific way using inspections or through the use of force. It's obvious that all the members of the Security Council and of the United Nations prefer the pacific way. That is stipulated in the United Nations Charter. Colombia is a country that historically has privileged pacific conflict resolution and the use of force as a last resource. But the decision is not in the hands of this Council but in the hands of the Iraqi Government.

Colombia is a country vocation that historically has privileged the peaceful resolution of conflicts via dialogue and negotiation, and the use of force as a last resort. But the decision in this moment is not in the hands of the Council but in the Government of Iraq.

That is why we urge the members of this Organ to engage in a final and decisive effort to maintain the unity in the Council and agree on a new resolution that settles a specific deadline with clear benchmarks, so that the Government of Iraq will finally comply with their obligation of disarming.

Nevertheless, we stand before a high and probable need to use force and avoid more damage. My country knows it, because we have lived it in our internal conflict. We thought we could convince irregular armed groups about the goodness of the use of pacific means, but we acknowledged now that this only allowed them to buy time, to arm more and more, and to enlarge their capacity to harm. Their offerings of dialogue, peace, disarmament, and a pacific solution to the conflict were merely a rhetorical speech to hide their worst intentions.

Mr. President,

Peace is a desideratum, something that has a value for itself. But in certain occasions, to gain it, we cannot confuse it with calmness and with the illusion of the easiest way out, but instead to overcome incomprehension and choose the difficult but assertive way.


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Statement 2003