Search

 

Cablegate: Colombia-Ecuador Dispute: Oas Resolution 930

VZCZCXRO2655
PP RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL
RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHC #5671/01 0721252
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121245Z MAR 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5546
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 8099
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 7560
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5253
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 4658
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

id: 145435
date: 3/12/2008 12:45
refid: 08STATE25671
origin: Secretary of State
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination:
header:
VZCZCXRO2655
PP RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL
RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHC #5671/01 0721252
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121245Z MAR 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS PRIORITY
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5546
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 8099
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 7560
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 5253
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 4658
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 STATE 025671

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2018
TAGS: PREL PTER CO EC
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA-ECUADOR DISPUTE: OAS RESOLUTION 930

Classified By: Acting PermRep Bob Manzanares; Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) Summary. The OAS Permanent Council approved
Resolution 930 on March 5 regarding the Colombia-Ecuador
dispute stemming from the Colombian attack on a FARC camp on
the Ecuadorian border on March 1. Resolution 930 reaffirmed
the inviolability of national sovereignty, established a
commission headed by OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel
Insulza to travel to Colombia and Ecuador and propose
resolutions to the dispute, and convoked a meeting of OAS
foreign ministers on March 17 to receive SYG Insulza's report
and "to examine the facts and make pertinent
recommendations." Colombia met its key objective of avoiding
condemnation (aided by USG refusal to join consensus on any
document condemning Colombian actions); but Colombia accepted
language indicating that its actions on March 1 violated
international law. The preambular language of the resolution
asserted that Colombian forces carried out an incursion into
Ecuador's territory and that this constituted a "violation of
the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ecuador and of
principles of international law." USOAS disputed the
assertion that Colombia had violated international law
through its actions, sought unsuccessfully to obtain modified
language, and submitted a statement for the record noting the
USG's disagreement with that component of the resolution.

2. (C) The OAS tradition of consensus (as opposed voting)
complicated Ecuadorian and Venezuelan efforts to secure a
condemnation of Colombia. Ecuador, prodded by Venezuela,
adopted an agressive stance at the outset of the Special
Permanent Council session, derailing a tentative agreement
among South American delegations to quickly adopt language
acceptable to Colombia. Colombian Permanent Representative
Ospina shot back, distributing information from the captured
FARC laptops to all delegations and accusing Venezuela and
Ecuador of aiding the FARC. Brazil sought to play a role as
honest broker, though Brazil joined most other major Latin
delegations in pressing hard to condemn Colombia's alleged
violation of Ecuador's national sovereignty. Venezuela,
joined by Argentina and Nicaragua, sought to keep the focus
solely on Colombia's incursion into Ecuador and dismissed
Colombia's arguments as an effort to distract from that
attack. Argentina adopted a lower profile on the second day,
evidently as a result of Embassy Buenos Aires requests to the
GOA to rein in its delegation. Venezuela's bullying tactics
and open encouragement of a hard line by Ecuador triggered
sharp reactions among other delegations and undermined their
attempts to obtain a condemnation of Colombia. The easing of
tensions stemming from the Rio Group Summit in Santo Domingo
came as a surprise to OAS delegations and generated
uncertainty as to the OAS role in managing this crisis. End
Summary.

//ECUADOR LAUNCHES BROADSIDE, COLOMBIA FIRES BACK//

3. (SBU) The Special Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council was
requested by the Ecuadorian delegation to discuss Colombia's
March 1 attack on a FARC camp in Ecuadorian territory. As
the OAS meeting began on March 4, the Colombian delegation
informed USOAS that the ALADI Group (South American Latin
delegations plus Mexico) had negotiated draft language that
would avoid condemnation of Colombia and would call for an
OAS mission to Colombia and Ecuador to encourage a diplomatic
solution to the crisis. That tentative arrangement fell
apart immediately as Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Salvador
used her opening remarks to accuse Colombian President Uribe
of lying to Ecuador, of killing the FARC members in their
sleep, and of carrying out an unjustified violation of
Ecuador's sovereignty. She noted that the events had
compelled Ecuador to break diplomatic relations with Colombia
and said that an apology was insufficient. Minister Salvador
called upon the Permanent Council to condemn Colombia's
violation of Ecuador's sovereignty, establish a fact-finding
committee to investigate the events surrounding the alleged
violation of Ecuador's sovereignty, and call for a
consultative meeting of OAS Foreign Ministers. At several
points, she emphasized Ecuador's condemnation of the FARC's
methods, and Ecuador's cooperation with Colombia to control
the border.

4. (SBU) Colombia's response was equally heated. Permanent
Representative Ospina reviewed the March 1 incident and
reiterated Colombia's apology for entering Ecuador's

STATE 00025671 002 OF 004


territory, but then attacked Ecuador and Venezuela for their
coordination/cooperation with the FARC, "in violation of
international law." Ospina discussed Colombia's plan to
bring Venezuelan President Chavez to the International
Criminal Court for alleged links to the financing of
terrorists. He cited Colombian efforts at the UN as well as
the OAS to condemn terrorism and cited UNSCR 1373 (2001)
provisions on the "duty of states to deny refuge to those who
finance, plan, facilitate or commit acts of terrorism and to
impede... the use of their territory for those purposes."
For his closing sound bite, Ospina mockingly lauded the
"Presidents of Ecuador and Venezuela for expelling our
Ambassadors, dignified representatives of a legitimate
democracy. Hopefully, they will display similar valor by
expelling terrorists from their territory."

//OTHER OAS MEMBERS JOIN THE FRAY//

5. (C) Nicaraguan PermRep Moncada spoke next, issuing a
condemnation of Colombia for its "murder" of Raul Reyes who
was "on a political and diplomatic mission to establish talks
between the Colombian Government and the FARC." Bolivia
called for an unequivocal apology by Colombia and said the
"aggrieved party should not be transformed into the
aggressor." Venezuelan PermRep (and Vice FM) Valero spoke
later, claiming the support of "around 25 delegations" for a
condemnation of Colombia's actions. Valero urged the OAS to
issue a condemnation, establish a fact-finding mission to
report to a meeting of the OAS Consultation of Ministers no
later than March 11. He said the Colombian charges of
Venezuelan and Ecuadoran complicity with the FARC were
"lamentable... diplomatic pyrotechnics based on lies" and
that Colombia's action in Ecuador demonstrated that Colombia
was engaged in a "genocidal war." Valero claimed that
Venezuela advocated a peaceful resolution of the conflict in
Colombia and said that Plan Colombia was a USG effort to
involve Colombia in a continental war. He closed by
reiterating Venezuela's full support for Ecuador's efforts at
the OAS, rejected terrorism "in all its forms," and
encouraged efforts to establish a group of friends to aid the
Colombian peace process.

6. (SBU) Argentine PermRep Gil expressed Argentina's full
support for Ecuador's draft resolution and said the focus of
the OAS should be on the "flagrant violation of international
law" carried out by Colombia in "unilaterally according
itself the right to violate the territorial sovereignty of
another state." Gil warned against heeding the "dangerous
arguments" made by Colombia to justify its actions.
(COMMENT: Argentina adopted a much lower profile on the
second day, clearly the result of Embassy Buenos Aires'
efforts to rein in Ambassador Gil. END COMMENT). Brazilian
PermRep Chohfi expressed the view that Colombia's action
constituted "prima facie" evidence of a violation of national
sovereignty, but that there were conflicting views of what
had happened, requiring the formation of a committee to look
into the matter. At several points, Brazil reiterated the
importance of a negotiated resolution and Brazil's readiness
to facilitate such a process. Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay,
Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, Peru, and Honduras each
emphasized the principle of territorial sovereignty while
urging a peaceful resolution. Costa Rica, Canada, and
Bahamas (speaking on behalf of CARICOM) focused more on the
need for restraint and for a rapid, peaceful resolution,
while also advocating respect for territorial integrity.

7. (SBU) USOAS Acting PermRep Manzanares expressed U.S.
friendship for both Colombia and Ecuador, strong USG support
for Colombia's fight against terrorism and narcotics
trafficking, and called for a prompt resolution of the crisis
through the OAS in a manner acceptable to both Ecuador and
Colombia. The USOAS statement focused on the FARC's
pernicious role in the region and on previous OAS consensus
agreements condemning the FARC and calling on all member
states to honor their obligations to deny safehaven to
terrorists. Manzanares said it was regrettable that
Venezuela and Nicaragua sought to expand the scope of the
matter before the Permanent Council and urged that Ecuador
and Colombia be given an opportunity to resolve the matter
expeditiously.

//VENEZUELA THROWS ITS WEIGHT//

8. (C) Given the lack of progress, the Chair of the Permanent
Council then called for a smaller working group chaired by
Panamania PermRep Royo and attended by OAS SYG Insulza to
work on language for an OAS consensus resolution. This

STATE 00025671 003 OF 004


"smaller" group was attended by most of the 34 permanent
representatives and their staffs and foundered as each
delegation insisted on presenting its view. When the
Paraguayan delegation suggested that the Colombian and
Ecuadorian representatives engage in direct negotiations with
only SYG Insulza and Panamanian PermRep Royo present,
Venezuela briefly resisted this arrangement, but grudgingly
acceded. However, the Colombian delegation informed USOAS
that Venezuelan PermRep Valero used a side door to enter the
negotiation room and urge Ecuador's delegation to force a
vote by the Permanent Council on Ecuador's draft resolution.
(NOTE: Given the OAS tradition of consensus decisions, calls
to vote on an issue are considered highly polemical. END
NOTE). A senior OAS official denied that Valero had managed
to get into the negotiating room, but Valero was observed
hovering near the discussions throughout the evening.

9. (SBU) Shortly after midnight, the Chair of the Permanent
Council reconvened the session and announced that progress
had been made by Ecuador and Colombia, but that there was no
final agreement. He suggested that the session be suspended
until the next morning to give the two sides time to conclude
a text; Grenada took up that suggestion and moved that the
session be suspended. However, just before the session was
gaveled to a close, Venezuela interrupted and asked for a
clarification of what specific points separated the two
sides. Valero warned that the failure of the OAS to act
would lead Venezuela to question the value of the OAS,
particularly when Cuba had done much less than Colombia and
had been suspended by the OAS as a result.

10. (C) Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Salvador seized the
moment to propose an amended resolution and ask why Colombia
refused to match Ecuador's concessions. Honduran PermRep
Sosa aimed barbed comments at the Venezuelan delegation and
suggested that Ecuador and Colombia continue working towards
compromise language. After several other delegations joined
Honduras, the Chair suspended the session until the next day.
(COMMENT: Rumors that Venezuela was urging a vote on
Ecuador's draft resolution -- and Valero's machinations that
kept the session open until 1:30 a.m. -- irritated other
delegations and undermined support for Ecuador's positions.
Several delegations reported that Valero had misinformed
Ecuadorian FM Salvador that she had at least 20 votes on her
side and did not have to compromise further on the text,
which encouraged Ecuador to take a tougher line. END
COMMENT).

//WORKING GROUP ACHIEVES DRAFT TEXT//

11. (C) By late morning on March 5, the Colombian and
Ecuadorian delegations had hammered out compromise language.
In the preambular language of the resolution, Colombia
accepted that its actions on March 1 had violated
international law, though the document did not condemn
Colombia for doing so. More importantly for the Colombian
delegation, the resolution termed the visit by SYG Insulza an
effort to broker a resolution of the dispute rather than a
strictly "fact finding mission to investigate Colombia's
violation of Ecuador's sovereignty" (which was the language
sought by Ecuador).

12. (C) After reviewing the draft text, USOAS expressed
concern to the Colombian delegation about Colombia's apparent
acceptance that it had violated international law and urged
Colombia to consider alternative language and/or cite OAS
articles and other international instruments permitting
action taken in self defense. USOAS noted that the USG did
not agree that Colombia's actions constituted a violation of
international law. The Colombian delegation indicated that
its hands were tied because President Uribe had already
acknowledged and apologized for the incursion into Ecuador.
Moreover, Colombia feared that if it cited self defense, this
could open the door for the FARC to gain belligerent status.
Also, the Colombian delegation was pleased that it had
succeeded in eliminating much of the Ecuadorian language
that had proved unacceptable to Colombia; therefore Colombia
was reluctant to reopen the text for further changes. For
its part, the Ecuadorian delegation refused to consider any
modification to the text, considering it the least Ecuador
could accept in view of the absence of a condemnation of
Colombia. USOAS therefore opted not to block consensus on
the Ecuadorian/Colombian text and to instead make a statement
for the record (see para 14).

13. (SBU) The Chair reconvened the Permanent Council, at
which point Ecuador and Colombia reiterated their respective

STATE 00025671 004 OF 004


positions, but expressed support for the compromise text.
The operative paragraphs of Resolution 930:

-- Reaffirmed "the principle that the territory of a state is
inviolable and may not be the object, even temporarily, of
military occupation or of other measures of force taken by
another State, directly or indirectly, on any grounds
whatsoever." (NOTE: This is the first sentence of Article 21
of the OAS Charter. END NOTE).

-- Called for the formation of an OAS commission headed by
SYG Insulza, accompanied by four ambassadors, to visit both
Ecuador and Colombia, to submit a report to the Consultation
of Ministers, and to "propose formulas for bringing the two
nations closer together."

-- Convoked a meeting of the Consultation of Ministers on
March 17 to receive the report of the OAS commission headed
by Insulza and to "examine the facts and make pertinent
recommendations."

14. (SBU) Other delegations announced their support for the
resolution, with the exception of Nicaragua, whose PermRep
announced that he had just been instructed by President
Ortega to draw attention Colombian maritime actions that
challenged Nicaragua's borders. He said that these new facts
made it impossible for Nicaragua to support the language in
the text. This objection was essentially ignored (though
Colombia disputed the facts presented by Nicaragua) and the
resolution was passed by consensus. USOAS asked that the
following statement be read into the record of the session:

-- "The United notes that Colombia and Ecuador have reached
conclusions reflected in 'Considerations, Paragraph 2.' Such
conclusions are highly fact specific and the United States
has not reached an independent judgment on the issue."

The Colombian delegation thanked the USG for its support
during the negotiations, and for the U.S. Embassy's work in
Buenos Aires to tone down Argentine Perm Rep Gil's support
for Venezuelan positions.

//OAS COMMISSION ESTABLISHED, BUT WITHOUT CONSULTATION//

15. (C) Shortly thereafter SYG Insulza informed USOAS that
his Commission would include the PermReps of Panama, Brazil,
Peru, and Argentina. USOAS voiced objection regarding the
selection of Argentina's PermRep (given his strong personal
support for Venezuela's positions), the lack of consultation
with all OAS regional coordinators in forming the Commission,
and the absence of either a North American or Caribbean
representative on the Commission. The Mexican, Canadian, and
Dominican Republic delegations expressed similar dismay
regarding the narrow makeup of the Commission. Insulza added
the Chair of the Permanent Council (Bahamas), but did not
otherwise change the makeup of the Commission.

//RIO GROUP DECLARATION//

16. (C) The March 7 announcement of a diplomatic breakthrough
caught OAS delegations by surprise, but did not alter plans
for either the visit of Insulza's commission or the March 17
meeting of the Consultation of Ministers. Insulza told
reporters that the crisis required "tight closure" and to
"have a collective opinion" regarding what took place on
March 1. The Rio Group Declaration is likely to impact the
agenda for the OAS ministerial session as there will be
strong pressure to endorse the Rio Group's document,
particularly a reaffirmation of the principles of national
sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of
other states. The Department is studying the Rio Group
Declaration and planning for the March 17 OAS Consultation of
Ministers.
RICE

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC