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Cablegate: Colombia's Response to Unga Third Committee

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DE RUEHBO #8135/01 3241531
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201531Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0179
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 7877
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 9561
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 9075
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA IMMEDIATE 5653
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE 0845
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO IMMEDIATE 6315
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL IMMEDIATE 4179
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 1517
RUCNDTA/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 1870

UNCLAS BOGOTA 008135

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
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FOR WHA/AND AND DRL/MLGA AND IO/RHS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KTIA UN CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA'S RESPONSE TO UNGA THIRD COMMITTEE
COUNTRY RESOLUTIONS DEMARCHE

REF: A. SECSTATE 157026
B. SECSTATE 145641

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SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) On November 17 and 18, the Ambassador spoke to
President Uribe and Foreign Minister Araujo, in President
Uribe's presence, to press for GOC support on
country-specific human rights resolutions on Iran, North
Korea, Belarus, and Burma (reftels). The GOC appears
committed to its global policy to abstain on country-specific
resolutions, though Araujo told the Ambassador he would
review the GOC position. Araujo agreed to consider abstention
with explanation, not to change positions. Vice FM Mejia
told us the GOC feels "burned" by the GOC experience on UNSCR
1612 on Children in Conflict, and "saw a risk" from the HR
resolutions. Araujo told the Ambassador that he would
welcome a call from senior USG officials, but their position
was necessary to defeat future Colombia-specific resolutions.
END SUMMARY.

----------------------
AMBASSADOR REACHES OUT
----------------------

2. (SBU) Ambassador Brownfield spoke to Araujo on Friday,
November 16 and Sunday, November 18, the latter in front of
President Uribe on a bus, to push the GOC to support the USG
on the Iran, Belarus, Burma, and North Korea country-specific
human rights resolutions. These conversations followed an
original pitch by the Ambassador in September and three
additional contacts by Embassy. The Ambassador encouraged the
GOC to rethink its standard abstention policy on
country-specific resolutions in these cases. In light of the
concrete reality these resolutions represent to the Third
Committee, he argued Colombia ought take a position and not
protect these abusive regimes. The Ambassador asked Araujo
"Does the GOC really want to stand on the sidelines on
resolutions against these oppressive regimes?" He suggested
that Araujo, a hostage himself for six years, should see the
imperative of taking a stand.

------------------------------------
GOC WARY OF IMPLICATIONS TO COLOMBIA
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Araujo told the Ambassador that the GOC would
continue its general policy to abstain on country-specific
resolutions--possibly with "explanation" in these cases.
Mejia--who Araujo said manages the UN account in the
MFA--confirmed to A/Polcouns that the GOC prefers that the UN
Human Rights Council handle these cases, citing the Council's
"consistent mechanism" to address human rights issues.
Araujo and Mejia expressed disappointment with the results of
UNSCR 1612 on Children in Conflict, noting that they
unsuccessfully sought USG assistance in keeping Colombia out
of the resolution and annexes. The Ambassador reminded
Araujo of USG assistance in changing the implementation of
the Children in Conflict resolution in the face of member
state resistance. Mejia told us the GOC "saw a risk in the
HR resolutions for the Colombia situation," for UNGA HR
resolutions that were "more condemnation and less
cooperation."

4. (SBU) Araujo and Mejia said the MFA had thoroughly
analyzed the policy, which was approved at "high levels."
Araujo promised to review the decision, but noted that
President Alvaro Uribe did not intervene on this level of UN
issues. Looking somewhat pensive, the FM told us a call from
Washington would not change the GOC position.

5. (SBU) The Ambassador raised the issue again with Araujo on
November 18 while sitting on a CODEL bus next to Uribe. The
Ambassador suggested it was pointless to argue against
country-specific resolutions in principle or for Human Rights
Council jurisdiction, because the resolutions would come
before the Third Committee and Colombia would have to vote.
Araujo said Colombia would abstain, but was willing to issue

an explanation of vote if we thought it helpful. He said
that the GOC concluded from their child soldiers resolution
experience that the only way to avoid Colombia-specific
resolutions in the future was to join states that opposed
country-specific resolutions.
Brownfield

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