Participation of Colombia in the United Nations During the Period 1945-1995
Some Positions held over by Colombia
1. THE FIRST YEARS
During the second half of the First General Assembly, which was held in New York from October 23 to December 15, 1946, the Colombian delegation was composed of former president of the Republic, Alfonso López Pumarejo, as President of the delegation, Roberto Urdaneta, Jorge Soto Del Corral, Eduardo Zuleta Angel and Eliseo Arango, as delegates and Emilio Toro and José María Yepes as Alternate Delegates and Edmundo De Holte-Castello, as Secretary General.
At this Assembly such matters as the following were discussed: the veto, the case of India, disarmament, the Spanish case, racial discrimination, admission of new members, fundamental rights and freedom of man.
Colombia was elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for a period of two years as of January 1, 1947, by a total of 53 of the possible 54 votes in that election.
In order to attend to those responsibilities, Colombia founded its permanent delegation in New York to which the following delegates were appointed: former president Alfonso López Pumarejo, who presided it, and Ambassadors Eduardo Zuleta Angel and Alberto González Fernández as Second Delegates. Edmundo de Holte-Castello acted as a Secretary General.
Upon becoming a member of the Security Council, Colombia also became part of other commissions: the Atomic Energy Commission, Conventional Arms Limitation, the commission investigating border disturbances between Greece on the one hand and Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania on the other; the Fiscal Commission and the one in charge of social matters. In addition, Colombia belonged to the Commission for the Codifying of International Law to which Dr. Jesús María Yepes was appointed.
Within the Security Council itself, Colombia took part in the Special Commission for India and Pakistan and participated in debates on the case of Egypt and the situations of Indonesia, the Balkans and Palestine.
A- The veto:
At the San Francisco meeting, Colombia was one of the countries most opposed to some states being granted the veto privilege. Together with Australia and the other Latin American republic, it constantly voiced its opposition to this concession, but at the time of decision-making, only Colombia and Cuba voted negatively on the inclusion of said privilege. Alfonso López Pumarejo, who at that time was President of the Republic in his second presidential period (1942-1945), gave instructions to the Colombian delegation to strictly oppose approval of the veto. The Colombian position was based on democratic convictions as to the equality of all states. Furthermore, Colombian leadership during the Chapultepec Conference in Mexico, two months before the San Francisco meeting, forced Colombia to stand firm. Within the Interamerican system all states are considered legally equal and each is granted an equal vote with no distinctions made, a principle ratified at Chapultepec. Therefore, the strongest block against the veto was the group of Latin American countries.
Alberto Lleras Camargo, President of the Colombian delegation in San Francisco, argued the position of Colombia against the veto.
Alfonso López Pumarejo, after being in contact with United Nations events, gradually began to soften his position with respect to the veto. Along those lines, he stated during the General Assembly of 1946, "… actually, neither the vote of the majority, nor the veto, in and of themselves can guarantee peace. The imposition of a majority of votes may seem more legitimate than any other type of imposition; but that does not mean it is not also the result of numeric force, which is no more excusable due to the fact that it is not exercised in a brutal manner. The stronger nations, which are the least in number, are obliged to yield to the will of the weak, who are more numerous. From whence arises the need, in our opinion, to restrict not only the use of the veto, but of the vote as a common resource for making transcendental decisions. Both the former and the latter impede the transaction which in many cases would be easier to arrive at as an intermediate solution…
Colombia´s position with respect to the veto was firmly established in San Francisco, but the delegation I was honored to preside, considers it convenient today to make a few brief side comments:
The veto has always existed, in one form or another, as a privilege of the great powers. I has existed within the unanimity rule. The Colombian delegation deems it worthy to insist upon respect for restrictions established in the Charter Regarding exercise of the veto and on compliance with prior conditions accepted in San Francisco by the United States of America, Great Britain, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and China before they were granted it. The delegation furthermore wishes to express the pleasure it feels at the attitude assumed by the Undersecretary for Foreign Relations of the USSR, Mr. Vishinshky, upon facilitating the debate on Cuba´s motion with respect to the veto, in spite of considering it inconvenient and inopportune for his own government.
As things stand, reasonable use of the veto could be interpreted as a right that small nations have granted to the larger ones as way of delaying the study of any particular matte at a given time. But it could also be considered a tremendous threat to the right to dissent that all peoples and their representatives must have, particularly the weakest, if the strongest intend to exercise it indiscriminately, as if assuming an unforeseen tutelage over the opinions of the contemporary world. The right to discuss it in the General Assembly is, in our view, inseparable from the right to veto in the Security Council, but we understand that, all nations great and small though equal in this Assembly, do not have equal responsibility in the preservation of peace." However, the Colombian position has been, henceforth, to decisively contest the veto as an anti-democratic expression. The words of Eduardo Zuleta Angel, Colombian Representative to the General Assembly of 1949, in his capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs, clearly summarize this stance: "… Colombia was one of the two countries at the San Francisco Conference that refused to vote in favor of the veto… We voted negatively because we very clearly foresaw what would happen: the veto would constantly become a cause of paralysis in the Security Council, and as a consequence, it would be an element that would endanger the prestige of the organization. We voted against the veto because we considered it undemocratic and contrary to the fundamental principle of the Charter, regarding equal sovereignty of states."
B- Admission of Spain
The case of Spain was discussed at the 1946 Assembly. This country, according to others, particularly Poland, should not be admitted to the United Nations Organization due to the fact that it had a dictatorial regime which maintained very close relations with the Axis Powers during the Second World War. Some Latin American countries were in favor of admitting Spain into the United Nations and of impeding the sanctions proposed by some against the Franco regime. Alfonso López Pumarejo, on behalf of the Colombian delegation, sustained that Spain should be admitted without that necessarily implying an acceptance of is regime.
"The Colombian delegation does not pretend to present any type of defense of General Franco´s government, nor has it pronounced any words of encouragement or incentive, and even less so of this Assembly´s offering its collaboration. Personally, I would be the last to forget my militant liberal background to hasten to the defense of ideas opposing those I have professed with unwavering adherence all my life." The most desirable thing would be for Spain to have some other type of political organization, but it is not a matter of intervening in its internal affairs, because the Charter does not authorize the Organization to assess the type of regime, lest it should establish a precedent, "…which could be used to argue as of tomorrow so that the United Nations would assume the same attitude and formulate analogous precautions against any of its Members within whose jurisdiction there is no freedom of speech, press and association, or where there lacks due respect for expression of the popular will."
When this same issue was discussed in 1949, the position of the Colombian government was presented by Ambassador Robert Urdaneta Arbeláez who replaced Alfonso López at the Security Council, which, as well, presided, at the May 5th session. The Ambassador noted that the first step with respect to the government of Spain was taken in San Francisco by censuring its admittance, but that circumstances had changed because the Axis powers had now been defeated. Spain no longer constituted a danger to global peace an was not a threat to democratic countries.
"The present government of Spain, regardless of the principles by which it is governed, does not attempt to intervene, nor is it capable of doing so, in the internal or external problems of other nations. The Spanish government devotes all its efforts, whether we agree or not with its criteria, to maintaining the peace in Spain and to restoring its prosperity. It cannot then be considered the focal point of disturbance to international peace… To summarize, we consider that the current situation in the case of Spain violates the international principle of non-intervention, ignores the provisions of the Charter prohibiting such intervention, contravenes articles 39 and 40 which grant the Security Council the power to impose sanctions, oversteps the limits of the powers of the General Assembly and is furthermore inappropriate and inconvenient for many countries who perceive themselves in an inferior position in their international relations with respect to others." In 1949, at the time of the Berlin Blockade, Colombia, through the offices of its Ambassador Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez, offered its assistance, together with the representatives of other members of the Security Council (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China y Syria), in the investigation of essential aspects of the problem. The group of so-called "neutrals" was thus formed, having accomplished an important task.
2- MIDDLE EAST, PALESTINE, ISRAEL, JERUSALEM
Two proposals were submitted for debate in 1947 on the problem of Palestine: the first which in the end gained majority support, proposed the creation of an Arab state and another Jewish state contained within a Custom Union, while the minority proposal was for the creation of a single independent federal state. Neither of them gained the consensus of the delegates. The Colombian delegate, Alfonso López Pumarejo, then proposed to delay the plan for partition into two states. His position was that the problem must be studied in depth before making any decision with irreversible consequences that would weigh on world problems in the future, as did evidently occur. At the November 28th session in 1947, during the General Assembly, Alfonso López Pumarejo stated,
"…We cannot ignores nor underestimate the fact that among the 13 votes cast against the partition of Palestine are all those of the Muslim countries. If the Jewish problem is at the same time religious and racial, it seems to us that it is not a good omen for the execution of the plan that it has been unanimously repudiated by the Muslim world. And not silently repudiated, but under vehement protest. And not by a small portion of mankind, but by the representatives of four hundred million humans professing the same religious creed. It is not strange therefore, that the plan has had to cross the Atlantic in search of defenders it has not been able to find among Palestine´s neighbors, or in the Eastern Mediterranean, or Western Europe, or even on the distant Asiatic continent. Politically, it seems to be equally meaningful that neither China, nor France, nor the United Kingdom has agreed with the United States and the Soviet Union on this case…
The Palestinian question is as highly debatable as any other that has come before the General Assembly, and perhaps even more so. The Split opinion within the ad-hoc committee and its subcommittees has been as evident among the permanent members of the Security Council as among the rest of the members of the United Nations. The ad-hoc committee vote on the formation of a federal state was 2 in favor, 29 against and 14 abstentions. It can be seen, then, that this last plan was not accepted by thirty member nations and that partition as voted down by twenty-six. And it can also be said consequently that the joint opinion of the Organization is awaiting a more satisfactory expression of its propositions and its desires in relation to this arrangement… A divergence of similar opinions has been observed in the voting on all other positions referring to the various aspects of this case. Issues related to Jewish refugees and displaced persons were approved by a very slight margin with numerous abstentions. The petition to the International Court of Justice for its concept on whether the United Nations or any of its members had competency to execute action by force or recommend execution by force of any proposal relative to the formation and future government of Palestine, and in particular, any partition plan that goes against the wishes of the inhabitants of Palestine or is adopted without its consent, was rejected by 21 votes against, 20 in favor and 13 abstentions…
Returning to the principal point of our argument, there is not much room for misjudging the general orientation of the criteria and sentiments of the members of the General Assembly. We might say they could be summarized as follows: both the federal state and the partition, as they have been conceived, have a very limited group of supporters. One has more fervorous and sincere defenders than the other. The member states that still have not felt it convenient to accept either one of the two plans in accordance with their own concepts constitute the most numerous group. Under these circumstances, Mr. President, we suggest that the General Assembly would do well to postpone a decision and to make a new attempt, no matter what the expense to the Organization or the additional work assigned its officers, to find a solution that is more susceptible to achieving the acceptance of both Jews and Arabs, as well as the enthusiastic support and cooperation of the Christian world. We respectfully insist that it is not too late to make such an attempt. The General Assembly can return the matter to the ad-hoc committee for Palestine with the special recommendation that it try to elaborate on and develop the work it has so far done, in an aim to define and clarify the conflictive positions of the Arabs and the Jews, and that they take advantage of the situation we are currently confronting in order to achieve an understanding that can give the General Assembly greater guarantees of success."
In order to solve this conflict, Colombia proposed the creation of a conciliatory commission composed of personages chosen by the Security Council, the Assembly and the International Court of Justice in order to guarantee impartiality in the Palestinian process. On November 29, 1947, one day after López Pumarejo´s speech, the General Assembly voted in the Palestinian Partition Plan, by 33 votes in favor of partition, 13 against and 10 abstentions, Colombia among them. Later, during the deliberations of the Security Council at the 27th Session on February 27, 1948, López Pumarejo expressed his concern for the Jewish population and their location, in terms aimed at shaking the well-intended consciences of Western countries that attempted to shirk responsibility by sending their Jewish populations far from their territories:
"If I am not mistaken, the idea of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine was based on a desire to provide the Jews with the satisfaction and relief of leaving behind a hostile environment and moving to a country they could consider their own. This was the idea at a time when Jews and Gentiles could travel freely, without visas around the entire world and settle and prosper wherever they wanted without restrictions, discriminations and persecutions that overwhelm Jews in our days. Half a century ago, Jews could settle in any part of the civilized world, and could, if they so desired, leave to Palestine. It is not an exaggeration, then, to say they had the power to elect, an option that is practically denied them today. One part of Palestine is being offered as a refuge to homes in Europe, who feel unwanted in Europe and who want to put and end to the unceasing misfortune and misery they have experienced over the last twenty years. Finally, Palestine allows them to escape from the pretend that this solution will likewise allow democratic countries to elude their obligation to put and end to such religious and racial discrimination and persecution and to reestablish the natural right of the Jewish peoples to share with others the possibility of struggling for the enjoyment of a peaceful life. We firmly believe that the Jews should not be forced to live only in certain parts of Palestine, but rather should have the right to settle in the territories of the member states of the United Nations, according to a previously established system of immigration quotas, as proposed previously. We are not attracted by the prospect of a huge ghetto mushrooming in the Holy Land just so the Gentiles among mankind can clear their consciences of the evil inflicted upon the Jews under Hitler´s order and by his cohorts. We want to see an end to this great human tragedy… The more we mediate on the perspectives offered by the Palestine question, the more convinced we are that the November 29,1947 resolution was approved too precipitously and that it would have been possible to improve on it without much difficulty and without extended debates…"
Colombia had a special interest in taking a position on Jerusalem and holy places, among other reasons, because given the Catholic majority of the country, these places had great religious significance. For that reason, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposed establishing its permanent neutrality by means of a "Special Statute". With reference to Jerusalem, a memorandum from the Colombian Foreign Ministry dated October 4, 1948 states: "…The city of Jerusalem and its surroundings merit being considered international legacy, exempt from any type of political or religious domination by one race over another. Nothing is more to the point, furthermore, for encouraging the understanding and legal organization of peoples, as the fact of a land that should be the example of harmony and sure source of inspiration and doctrine of peace being "de jure" linked to the United Nations Organization … However, this Office wishes to call the attention of other American governments to the advisability and need that such a ´Special Statute´, being granted to the city of Jerusalem and its surroundings, including the town of Bethlehem, as ´Corpus Separatum´, that is, with a truly international character dependent principally upon the Security Council of the United Nations".
At the same time, Colombia has been constantly concerned about the Arab peoples displaced from the zone and for their rights. This concern was evident in the speeches made by the Colombian delegate during deliberations on the creation of Israel and the partitioning of Palestine and was again expressed in the following words, during 1948. "This speaker considers that effective measures should be taken in favor of Arab refugees. It is not sufficient to acknowledge to them equitable compensations. The must have the right to choose a compensation and to return to their homes and in last instance, they must have the security to be able to freely and fully exercise their rights as citizens, their freedom of action and all rights in general"
Colombia recognized Israel as a state in February of 1949. On May 11th of that same year, it was admitted as a sovereign nation to the United Nations Organization.
The topic of the Middle East was dealt with again by the Security Council in 1969 when Colombia for the fourth time, sat on said Council. Jordan presented a claim with respect to bombardment of its territory by the Israeli Air Force (February-March, 1969). During the debate, Colombia´s position was that of searching for an integral solution for the region, that is, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied territories, recognition of Israel and an end to the belligerence. Finally, Resolution 265 condemning Israel, proposed by Pakistan, Senegal and Zambia was adopted, with four abstentions including Colombia. Likewise, a claim by Lebanon dealing with bombing of its towns by the Israeli Air Force (January-June, 1969) was also heard in the Council, giving rise to Resolution 270 (69) condemning said attack.
With respect to the situation of Jerusalem, Jordan presented a claim to the Security Council in reference to violation of human rights in that city by Israeli authorities. Following the debate, Resolution 271 (69) was enacted, as presented by Pakistan, Senegal and Zambia and approved unanimously, in which Israel was condemned for said acts. The case of the fire in the Al Aqsa Mosque was also discussed. The Council then passed Resolution 272 (69), proposed by Pakistan with four abstentions, among them the Colombian vote. This Resolution condemned Israel once again. In relation to the Middle East, the Security Council approved Resolution 270 (70) proposed by Spain and unanimously adopted on May 12, 1970 in which it requested the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon. Debate of this topic led, 7 days later, to approval of Resolution 280, which Colombia abstained from voting on, and which also condemned Israel for premeditatedly violating its obligations under the UN Charter. Resolution 285 of September 5, 1970, on which the U.S. abstained from voting, demanded the withdrawal of troops from the territory in dispute.
The Palestinian question was a predominant theme during the XXXI Session (1976) of the General Assembly. By Resolution 3120, including Colombia´s affirmative vote, Israel was required to withdraw its troops from the territories that it had been occupying since 1967, it reiterated the Palestinian people´s right to free self-determination and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. Among the topics discussed at XXXIV Assembly (1979), Ambassador Omar Henry Velasco, read a statement by the Colombian delegation on the "Palestinian question", at the Plenary Session of November 27, 1979. It expresses the Colombian government´s adherence to the Palestinian cause, and the need to summon the Palestinian people to the conference table and to participate in the decisions affecting its destiny:
"…It may well be said that this year of 1979 will be considered the most fruitful in history in the long path to making the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people a reality aimed at reaching self-determination, the founding of their home state and fulfillment of their own historical destiny. In this period, both within the United Nations and outside it, the states that understand the undelayable justice of their demands, in spite of the interests influencing international news media… In spite of these distressing circumstances, in spite of the fact they must live like exiles in their own fatherland, in spite of the fact they are denied that mysterious bond between man and his land and its landscapes which has been the source of all civilization, as communicated to us by their genuine representative to this assembly, their leaders as dictated by popular will have been able to carry out an enormous task to obtain under such conditions of poverty, through education, work, social discipline that they can carry out a worthy community life, without illiteracy, with enormous cultural achievements, under the sign of their blind faith in the fulfillment of their destiny.
Neither can my delegation accept the conquest of territory by the force of arms. This is a concept that goes against the diplomatic tradition of Colombia, a nation that has not conquered as much as a single meter of its territory by such a system of violence. Neither can it accept the unilateral invocation of religious historic concepts in order to claim rights to sovereignty…
During the General Assembly of 1983 the matter of the Middle East was extensively discussed. Colombia maintained a position of backing for the right of the Palestinian people to have their own state within safe and stable borders, rejected military action by Israel in Lebanon and advocated the evacuation of Arab territories. With respect to Israel, Colombia opposed its eventual expulsion from any international organization, based on the principle of the universality of International Organizations. However, some procedures undertaken by Israel in occupied Arab territory in violation of human rights were condemned. In the year 1989, when Colombia participated for the fifth time in the Security Council, the topic of "The situation of the occupied Arab Territories" was presented. During the course of discussion, a shift in the traditional position of the United Nations took place, as a consequence of a new vision derived from the Persian Gulf conflict. The United States had to mitigate its support for Israel in order to obtain collaboration from some Arab countries in the struggle against Iraq. In February, 1989, the Permanent Observer for Palestine in the Security Council, denounced a series of repressive measures imposed by Israel in the occupied territories, which had as a result left three Palestinians dead and thirty-five injured. The president of the Arab Group asked the President of the Security Council to summon a meeting of that body. During the discussion, Ambassador Enrique Peñalosa manifested the Colombian position in the following terms: "We have come today to protest the inhumane and brutal form in which the Israeli occupying forces have managed the Palestinian revolt. Just as the Jewish peoples justly aspired to their self-determination forty-two year ago, this constitutes the aspiration of the inhabitants of the occupied towns."
On July 6, 1989, a Resolution proposal co-sponsored by Colombia, which exhorted Israel to suspend the deportation of Palestinians and to ensure the return of Palestinian civilians, was approved. Likewise, the Resolution reconfirmed that the Geneva Convention relating to protection of the civilian population during war was applicable to the occupied territories including Jerusalem. On August 1, 1989, Iraq launched its invasion of Kuwait, thereby establishing a relationship between this situation and what had been happening in other areas of the Middle East. If the invasion and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq was condemned, then the Israeli occupation of Arab territories must also be condemned. Ambassador Enrique Peñalosa´s speech gave voice to this sentiment at the session of October 8, 1990, condemning the double moral standard of some countries in the international community according to whom there were good and bad invasions:
"In both cases we are in the presence of flagrant violations of the most elemental principles of international law, such as the use of force, violation of human rights, failure to comply with mutually accepted obligations such as those stated in the Fourth Geneva Convention with respect to the protection of civilians during acts of war and others that would make my speech very long… My delegation cannot accept that there are any good invasions and that, in one case, the pain, humiliation and death of individuals moves us and has awakened the grave concern of the world, and that in other we remain simple spectators, throughout the decades without the least human sensitivity being reflected upon our countenances."
3- THE FIFTIES
A- The Korean War
Upon entering the decade of the fifties, a matter with worldwide repercussions arose, and in which Colombia participated. This issue was the Korean War, brought on by the attack by North Korea on its neighbor to the south cross the 38th parallel. The U.S. government presented the matter to the Security Council which decided, by means of Resolution 82 of June 25, 1950, to declare that "this action constituted a breaking of the peace", and demanding that North Korean authorities bring hostilities to an immediate end and withdraw their armed forces back across the 38th parallel. Said resolution was approved in the absence of the Soviet Union ad passed with the abstention of Yugoslavia. The Security Council also requested "all members to lend their support to the United Nations in order to execute the Resolution and to abstain from lending aid to the North Korean authorities". North Korea ignored this Resolution and for that reason on June 27, 1950, the Security Council approved Resolution 83 recommending that all member states provide the Republic of Korea with "the necessary aid to repel the armed attack and to reestablish international peace and security in the zone". On the basis of said recommendation, Colombia sent a military contingent and a frigate to Korea and thus became the only Latin American country to participate militarily in this episode which marked one of the critical points of the Cold War. President Laureano Gómez who had taken office on August 7, 1950, offered to send the Frigate "Admiral Padilla" in September of that same year. Decree 3230 issued on October 23, 1950 authorized the participation of the Colombian contingent. In November, Ambassador Eduardo Zuleta Angel offered the services of an infantry battalion of one thousand men and eighty three officers. "About mid February, 1951, Roberto Urdaneta Arbeláez, then Laureano Gómez´s Minister of War, reported that Colombia was training a battalion of one thousand eighty three men for the conflict and declared that if the United Nations so wished, Colombia could train an entire division and equip them with arms purchased in the United States. On May 12th a farewell mass and ceremony was held in Bogotá´s Bolivar Plaza for the troops leaving that day to Korea. The Colombian Battalion ended its combat duty in July, 1953 and on November 25,1954 the last Colombian contingent returned".
After three years of struggle, an armistice agreement putting an end to hostilities was signed on July 27, 1953. Following that date several attempts were made to hold talks between the parties and a Conference for this purpose was held to study the political aspect of peace in Korea. This conference was held in Geneva on April 26, 1954. Work by the Conference was divided into two sections: unification and independence of Korea and the situation and eventual solutions to war in Indochina. Colombia participated in the first phase, as one of the countries having participated in military operations. The Colombian Delegation was composed of Ambassador Eduardo Zuleta who presided it, Francisco Urrutia Holguín, Colonel Jaime Polanía Puyo and Frigate Captain Julio Reyes Canal. Dr. Luis González Barros was named advisor with the rank of Minister Counselor.
B- In the Security Council for the second and third times
Colombia was elected for a second time as member of the Security Council for the period between January 1, 1953 and December 31, 1954. During this period they dealt with the following issues, among others: Morocco, (see Chapter IV); Guatemala (see Chapter III) and and an Israeli claim made with respect to interference by Egypt with cargo heading for Israel in the Suez Canal, about which matter the Colombian position was explained by Ambassador Carlos Echeverri Cortés in a reiteration of the principle of free navigation on international waterways.
The Colombian delegation to the Security Council was composed of Ambassador Francisco Urrutia Holguín, who presided and Carlos Echeverri Cortés, as Alternate; by Brigadier General Gabriel París and special envoys Alfredo Carbonell, Eduardo Carrizosa de Brigard, José Umaña Bernal and Misael Pastrana Borrero. Colombia, in its capacity as member of the Security Council, and therefore a member of the Disarmament Committee, was represented by Colonel Marco A. Villamizar.
One event of interest with respect to UN activities in our region was the creation in Bogotá of the UN Information Center for Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, which would later be extended to include Perú. This Center was inaugurated in the month of July in 1954 at a ceremony attended by Mr. Benjamín Cohen, the then Secretary General Adjunct of the United Nations for Public Information. The first director was Mr. Luis Zalamea.
The General Assembly of 1956 took up the topic of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in October of that year. This matter was also submitted to the consideration of the Security Council, but the process made no headway due to the Soviet Union´s use of its veto power. Under these conditions, and Extraordinary Emergency Session of the General Assembly was summoned, during which five resolutions referring to the problem were adopted. In furtherance of these five resolution, the Secretary General of the UN formed a group of three distinguished personages to advise him in the investigation functions that had been entrusted to him. This group was formed by Alberto Lleras Camargo, Arthur Lall and O. Gendersen, and presented a report without conclusions due to the fact that they had no "new reliable sources of material through field observation" .
Regarding the problem of the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the Colombian position at the General Assembly was to refute the Soviet thesis that it was internal matter of Hungary´s and therefore did fall under the competence of the Organization to intervene" During the period 1956-1957, Colombia was elected for the third time, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. The Delegation on this occasion was formed by: Principal representative, Ambassador Francisco Urrutia Holguín; Alternate Representative, Ambassador Carlos Vesga Duarte; Advisors: Jorge Morales Rivas, Jesús Zarate Moreno, Antonio Angel Escobar and Jaime Canal Rivas. Due to the change in government brought on by the fall of General Gustavo Rojas Pïnilla, on May 10, 1957, a modification was made in the UN Delegation, appointing by Decree 1306 issued on June 25th of that year Dr. Alfonso Araújo as Head of the Permanent Colombian Delegation to the United Nations, Representative to the Security Council and the Disarmament Committee.
On July 26, 1956 Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal´s Universal Company. On October 29th Israel forces invaded Egyptian territory and the United States requested and immediate meeting of the Security Council to present a resolution proposal condemning the invasion, which was then vetoed by England and France. Furthermore, the latter two countries warned the Security Council that they would also invade Egyptian territory in twenty-four hours if the struggle between Egypt and Israel continued. The invasion of Egyptian territory by Franco-British troops took place as announced. The Security Council was paralyzed by France and England´s veto and since the General Assembly was not in session and Emergency Session had to be summoned at the request of Yugoslavia according to provisions of Resolution No. 377 (V) of the Assembly, that is entitled "Pro-Peace Union". At this Assembly Ambassador Francisco Urrutia Holguín presented Colombia´s position in the following terms:
"… We do not wish to enter a discussion of the rights Israel, France or England have, may have or do not have. The may actually consider they have merits upon which to claim rights that, in their opinion, have been or might have been ignored, but from the United Nation´s point of view, those rights, whatsoever they may be, may under no circumstances be claimed by force … Neither can Israel, France and England argue that they can be found in article 51 of the Charter, given that although they may have been the victims of other types of aggression, in San Francisco they expressly limited the power to act under article 51 exclusively to the case of armed aggression, and we have no news of any armed aggression having occurred against France and England…" Colombian infantry troops participated in the First United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF I) operation from November 16, 1956 to May 31, 1958, in the Gaza Strip. General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla´s government (1953-1957) agreed to send Colombian troops to the region, under the insignia of the United Nations and formed the Colombia Battalion No.2 in which many of the men who had been in Colombia Battalion No. 1 in Korea took part.
"The Colombian forces, under the command of Colonel Cesar Cabrera, left Bogotá on November 10, 1956 … The troops arrived at last in Egypt on November 16th together with the Secretary General of the UN. The Colombia Battallion was assigned patrol duty in the Khan Yunia zone of the Gaza Strip. In the last week of October, 1958 the battalion left for Colombia, after almost two years of tedious service. The total number of troops participating in the action was 490 officers and soldiers". In 1981 the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boutros Ghali visited Colombia at the invitation of President Julio César Turbay (1978-1982). On that occasion, the Egyptian Minister and the Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Lemos Simmonds, signed a joint declaration on the Middle East and the Palestinian people. One product of these conversations was Colombia acceptance of sending a Colombian contingent t the Sinai to form part of the Multinational Force of Observers. Thus Colombia Battalion No.3 was formed. This multinational force did not depend on the United Nations and was constituted as part of Camp David agreements. "the new Colombia Battalion left the country on March 13, 1928 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Bernardo Ramírez Lozano with a total of 500 men who joined soldiers from Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Great Britain and the United States. The Colombian group was the second most numerous following that of the United States".
4- REPRESENTATION OF CHINA
An important issue during the XXVI Assembly in 1961 was the representation of China to the United Nations. The matter had been postponed since first brought up in 1951. Colombia pointed out the need to cautiously examine all proposals made in this respect. Colombia pointed out the need to cautiously examine all proposals made in this respect. Colombia opposed the eventual exclusion of Chiang Kai-Shek´s Nationalist China and its replacement with the People´s Republic of China. At the General Assembly in 1962, as in previous years, the Soviet Union promoted discussion of the topic and advocated the admission of the People´s Republic of China into the world organization and the exclusion of Nationalist China. Colombia expressed its opposition and voted against the Soviet proposition, which was rejected. The Colombian position was supported as follows by Ambassador Alfredo Vásquez Carrizosa in his speech of October 29, 1962:
"The Delegation of Colombia will vote against this resolution proposal due to reasons of prime international convenience, for reasons derived from world circumstances and the interpretation itself of the United Nations Charter; which binds us all as the supreme rule it is for the entire community of nations… The fact that two recognized governments exist for the same nation could not be very clear for us. If both had a seat in this Assembly, they still could not do the same I the Security Council. And if we were to choose the procedural path of expelling the Chinese government represented in this hall, as requested by the resolution proposal under discussion, we would be acting as judges and parties to the internal events of a nation, solving their own matters and setting a precedent that it is not the nations themselves that exercise the free right to elect their governors, but foreign governments that make a pronouncement in favor of one or the other of the bands in dispute, which in this case happens to be the one of a totalitarian, absolutist orientation… From our standpoint, it is essential that we scrupulously respect the conditions imposed buy article 4 of the San Francisco Charter none of which the present Communist government of Peking obeys and which are to accept the obligations established in this Charter and which `in the eyes of the Organization are capable of fulfilling said obligations and are willing to do so´".
Upon outbreak of the Sino-Soviet conflict, and the shifting of these countries from allies to antagonists and adversaries, the proposal for admission of Communist China was thereafter presented by its ally, Albania. Albania proposed the government of Peking and not Chiang Kai-shek´s as the legitimate representative of the Chinese people. They presented the issue not as one of admission, but as restitution of the legitimate representation of the Chinese people. The difference in presentation had profound implications. In the case of admission, it could be deduced, as indeed happened, that this was the case of a state that did not love peace, which prohibited its admission according to article 4 of the Charter. But, above all the matter had immense implications with respect to procedure, given the admission of a new nation, just as the expulsion of member, is considered an important question that requires two thirds of the votes according to article 18 of the Charter. Furthermore, the admission of the new member states had to be approved by the Security Council with the affirmative vote of all permanent members and Nationalist China, the one exercising representation sat on the Council and could impose its veto. If, on the other hand, it were a case of "restitution" of its rights, this majority was not needed and it did not have to be submitted to the Security Council.
Being the case of China, the matter was far more complicated, given that the country had a permanent seat on the Security Council and the privilege of the veto, so that the admission of the People´s Republic of China put that position into jeopardy. The matter was not only to establish if the People´s Republic of China should be in the UN, but rather to know who should be on the Security Council as the legitimate representative of the Chinese people. Communist China, from the outset, had declared it would not accept double representation, that of China and that of Taiwan, which meant that its admission would cause the ouster of the latter as a consequence. During the government of Carlos Lleras Restrepo (1996-1970), Colombia began to alter its position on this issue. Alfonso López Michelsen, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in several discussions before the General Assembly in 1968 and 1969 referred to the topic. In 1969 he asserted:
"The question of Continental China´s admission, if in reality it aspires to form part of this Organization, cannot continue to be treated indefinitely as a procedural question, in which we define whether this is one of the so-called `important questions´ to be voted by a two thirds majority, or a simple problem of credentials. The interest of global peace are at stake, as is the free determination of the people of Taiwan, who could not very well be excluded from the Organization and another series of questions related to the general solution to the conflicts of the Asiatic continent. As more and more voices inviting the universalization of the United Nations are heard, such as the voice of the President of Colombia a few months ago in the Security Council, alongside the many distinguished experts who invite us to analyze the participation of Communist China and other new countries, we reach the conclusion that it is necessary to stop evading the question in order to face it head on while at the same time undertaking a general debate on the rules for admission of new states to the United Nations Organization, at the same time unmistakably defining what is understood, by general consensus to be `a new state´ within the international community.
It is not possible, indefinitely and without any new examination of the principles that allow such phenomena, to go on studying limitations to grant the quality of associate members to small nations, due to their reduced size, while at the same time failing to investigate whether the 700 million human beings on the Asian continent are interested in receiving the benefits of the World Organization and of submitting to its rules. This is an unknown that needs to be solved in order to choose a line of conduct that will be in harmony with the goals of the United Nations". On October 25, 1971, the General Assembly decided to restore rights to the People´s Republic of China, recognize it as the only legitimate representative of China in the United Nations, give it a seat on the Security Council and expel the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from theirs position, which was executed by means of Resolution 2758 (XXVI). Colombia abstained from voting on this resolution and cosponsored a resolution proposal asking the Assembly to decide that all proposals resulting in the privation of the Republic of China´s representation in the UN constitute an `important question', in accordance with article 18 of the Charter.
The Colombian position was expressed by Ambassador Augusto Espinosa Valderrama in this speech: "… Within the general criteria that has inspired Colombia's international policy, the principle of universality is a basic element. Therefore, my delegation will vote against the Resolution proposal, the approval of which would imply expulsion of a member from the Organization which has fully complied with all its obligations in accordance with the Charter, and with which my country maintains cordial diplomatic relations. But I wish to expressly state, in accordance with our idea that the United Nations Organization must not deny that principle of universality, that the Colombian delegation understands it is not logical that the People's Republic of China with over 700 million inhabitants is not already a member of the United Nations. My delegation expresses its wishes that on a future occasion a resolution proposal can be formulated that will open the path for admission of the People's Republic of China to the Organization, without that implying the expulsion of another state, which like the Republic of China has fulfilled all requisites and has been faithful to the spirit of the Charter for 25 years…"
In 1965, the Soviet Union presented an issue to the General Assembly called, "Inadmissibility of the Intervention in Internal Affairs of the States and Protection of their Independence and Sovereignty". This was included in the program of said Assembly and assigned to the First Commission. On December 3, 1965, the Soviet delegation presented a declaration project aimed at condemning "direct intervention". This proposal was clearly of a political nature and was directed at implicitly condemning the United States for its interventions in Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. The Colombian delegation in informal conversations with the other Latin American delegations indicated the importance of the topic for Latin America, a region that had authority in this field, based both on historical circumstances and the contribution made to International Law on this matter. The following two concrete proposals were put forth: the first supporting the introduction of amendments to the Soviet project by the Latin American group; the second, the presentation of and independent Latin American project. In the heart of the Latin American Group, the Colombian delegation voiced and opinion in favor of the latter alternative, which was unanimously accepted.
Colombia, through Ambassadors, Alvaro Herrán Medina and Alberto Galindo, prepared a pre-project for a resolution to be submitted to the Latin American Group and jointly sponsored. The project was aimed at condemning all types of intervention, both direct and indirect. After being examined, it was passed on to a work committee formed by the delegations of Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru. The group agreed to certain modifications in the text and presented it in official form, with the sponsorship of all the delegations of the Group, except the Dominican Republic. According to the project, it is the duty of all nations to abstain from intervening directly or indirectly in the matters of other states. At the same time, it considered that measures by the world organizations aimed at maintaining peace or protecting human rights do not constitute intervention.
Other delegations, especially Asia and Africa, presented amendments both to the Soviet proposal and to the Latin American one and some Afro-Asian states began to present separate proposals. The delegations of the United States and Great Britain presented amendments to the Soviet proposal. After concluding the general debate, it was decided to delay a final conclusion while the authors of the principal projects - Latin Americans and Afro-Asians- tried to draft a single text. A committee of six members was then formed with three Latin Americans and three Afro-Asians (Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ethiopia, Iraq and Mali).
This group finally presented a Declaration Proposal sponsored by 57 states that was approved on December 20, 1965 by 109 votes with abstention by Australia, Canada and Great Britain. Two days later, the resolution entitled "Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Internal Affairs of States and Protection of Independence and Sovereignty" was approved in the Assembly Plenary Session with the abstentions of only Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Thereby, the proposal became Resolution 2131 (XX), which was described in the following terms in the records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented by Minister Castor Jaramillo Arrubla to the National Congress: "The UN debate on nonintervention had unique historical importance, of such immense transcendence as the "resolution of unity for peace" had over the last twenty years and that finally brought an end to colonialism. A unity of intention for universal peace, an outright rejection of colonialism and an affirmation of the principle of nonintervention are in the doctrinaire field, the most important events in the United Nations since the Conference of San Francisco. It is true that nonintervention, the right to the free determination of peoples, are essential parts of the UN seven basic principles. That is why a few commentators, ignorant of the development of international policies, consider its reiterated confirmation as superfluous and useless. They forget that these principles, and others, have been violated, and are today violated by the great powers in the five areas of the globe. And that the small states must appeal to the periodic recourse of specifically establishing its continuance as `authentic links to guarantees' in order to subdue the designs of expansion by the larger states."
6. THREE MORE TIMES ON THE SECURITY COUNCIL
Colombia was elected for the fourth time as non-permanent member of the Security Council for the 1969-70 period. Drs. Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala, Joaquín Vallejo Arbeláez, Augusto Espinosa Valderrama and José María Morales Suárez represented Colombia on the Council.
During this period the Security Council discussed the cases of Namibia (see Chapter IV), Cyprus, South Rhodesia (see Chapter IV), and the eventual amendments to the International Court of Justice Statute, among others. The Council also took up on numerous occasions issues related to the Middle East (see Chapters I - Il).
The General Assembly of 1969 adopted Resolution 2602E (XXIV) which named the decade of the seventies as the "Decade of Disarmament", which indicates the climate of reduced tension that began to be experienced among the super powers. Colombia, in turn, co-sponsored a Resolution that was approved, referring to banning of nuclear weapons on the sea floor. It likewise participated with its affirmative vote in the other resolutions referring to disarmament, as well as a proposal about the strengthening of international security which, upon approval by the Assembly, became Resolution 2606. Between April 9 and 28, 1974 an Extraordinary Session of the Assembly was held at which Resolution 3201 (S-VI) among others was approved, Declaration on the Establishment of a New Economic Order and Resolution 3202 (S-VI): Action Program on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order.
In reference to these discussions, Minister Alfredo Vásquez Carrisoza gave a speech which alluded to the global trends of the times. The Minister stated at that time: "The greatest shift in contemporary history, as far as international relations are concerned, has occurred in the last five years. Such crises as the Berlin blockade, the Korean War and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 have been left in the wake as testimony of a disappearing age". At the XXIX period of sessions of the General Assembly in 1974, the Colombian delegation was headed by Ambassador Aurelio Caicedo Ayerbe, Head of the Permanent Mission. On December 12th it adopted the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States (Resolution 3281). The Group of 77 countries, those of the socialist block and some industrialized countries voted in favor. Votes against it were cast by the German Federal Republic, Belgium, Denmark, United States, Great Britain and Luxembourg. Colombia voted in favor, but did so negatively on article 2 of the Charter, which in its second part made reference to prior consultation that must exist between two or more countries on the exploitation of shared natural resources. On September 18, 1979 Ambassador Indalecio Liévano Aguirre, who had presided the General Assembly in the previous period, declared the thirty-fourth period of ordinary sessions of the General Assembly to be open.
Colombia was elected for a fifth time as non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period 1989-1990. This time it received 155 votes out of 158, which consolidated its position and marked a sharp contrast with the events of 1979. That time, Cuba had presented itself as candidate with Latin American support. Later, Colombia presented itself for the same position, which generated a process never before seen at the United Nations. From October 26, 1979 to January 6, 1980 votes were taken 154 times, out of which Colombia won only two thirds majority. Finally, an agreement was made by which both withdrew and Mexico was then elected for Latin America. Said confrontation badly injured relations between the two countries, which were even more significant given the role Colombia had played with respect to Cuba at the time of its suspension from the Organization of American States. Nevertheless, when Colombia nominated itself again to be member of the Security Council in 1979, a "gentleman´s agreement" was reached, by which Cuba supported Colombia in its election in 1988 and Colombia did the same for Cuba when it became a candidate for the 1990-1991 period.
The Colombian delegation to the Security Council during this period was composed of: Ambassador Enrique Peñalosa Camargo, Head of Mission, delegates, Juanita Castaño, Jaime Girón Duarte, Luis Guillermo Grillo, Mario Fernando Pinzón and Fanny Umaña Mallarino with Fernando Alzate as advisor. There was one very important aspect that marked Colombia's policy during the acts of the Security Council and that had repercussions on the future path of Colombian foreign policy. When Colombia joined the Security Council for the fifth time, it began to act under the criteria of a member of the Non-aligned Movement. Since Alfonso Lopez Michelsen´s administration (1974-1978), Colombia had participated as an observer in the Nonaligned Movement. However, its formal admission occurred during the administration of Belisario Betancur (1982-1986), when Rodrigo Lloreda, Minister of Foreign Relations formalized said admission in 1983, during the New Delhi meeting in India. With Colombia's entrance to the Security Council in 1989, it began to act under the criteria of non-alignment as a country belong to the group espousing that philosophy. In a memorandum sent by the Colombian mission to the United Nations on January 14, 1989, the policy to be followed in the Security Council was outlined in accordance with its participation within the Nonaligned Movement. The document asserted:
"In as much as Colombia, as the nonaligned country that is, participates in an active, intelligent and clear way in its work in the CAUCUS, it will contribute decisively to the formulation of the nonaligned countries policies. In this way, with other members of the CAUCUS, it will become co-author and cosponsor of the opinion voiced by the nonaligned countries within the Security Council. In the event that Colombia were not a member of the nonaligned movement, it would simply be a loose cog in the wheel among the group of 5 permanent members and the nonaligned group".
CAUCUS is the name given in the U.N. to a work group make up of nonaligned countries that form part of the Security Council. It is not a legally institutionalized group, but is of utmost importance within the Security Council, so much so that in some years this group has wielded what can be called a "collective veto", due to the fact that during several periods it has had seven members on the Council which implies that if the group opposes a project, it does not pass because it cannot get the nine votes needed for approval. The importance of this group "was taken into account by Colombia in its decision on the way it would work within the Council throughout 1989 and 1990. Ninety-five percent of the resolution proposals submitted to consideration of the Council were presented by the group mentioned".
The Security Council, during this period, dealt with the following topics: independence of Namibia (see Chapter IV), occupied Arab territories (see Chapter I-II), U.S. invasion of Panama (see Chapter III), Haiti (see Chapter III), Central America (see Chapter III) and informally it dealt with the topic of drugs (see Chapter V). It also discussed the matter of the Libyan planes and that related to the Gulf War.
A- Libyan planes: On the fourth day after entering the Security Council, Colombia was presented with an event on which it established criteria and a line of conduct it has since then applied. This was the downing of Libyan planes off the coasts of that country in the Mediterranean by US fighters. There were different versions as to the circumstances and facts. Americans assured that the Libyan planes were carrying missiles and had a clearly hostile and aggressive attitude and that the American planes were on a training mission so that upon outbreak of the incident, their action had been in legitimate defense. They also alleged that Libya had a chemical weapons production plant. The American version lost ground when they could not prove that Libyan planes had been armed nor linked their action to the chemical plant issue. The problem was that in Protocol 1925 the use of chemical weapons had been prohibited, but their production and storage had not, a topic that the US was precisely negotiating in Geneva. For this reason, it as said that Libya had an equal right as the US to produce and store chemical weapons as a dissuasive strategy. Colombia voted affirmatively on the Resolution condemning the acts of the United States which had become a very controversial issue within the country. Ambassador Enrique Peñalosa explained that the point was to maintain an autonomous position, based on the principles of International Law and on the UN Charter, and that Colombia was acting in line with the Movement of Nonaligned Countries. Magazine Semana of Bogotá analyzed Colombia´s position in the United Nations as:
"Doubtlessly, what was behind Peñalosa´s role was Colombia´s desire to make it clear that, contrary to what may have been predicted, Virgilio Barco was not going to be any kind of unconditional ally of the United States. To the contrary, he was going to continue with the independent international policy that Colombia had been practicing over the last few years, particularly since its admission to the group of nonaligned countries. It is said that a confirmation of independence of this nature could be interpreted as discreet support for Gaddafi, considered one of the main sponsors of international terrorism." The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq: On August 2, 1990 Iraq´s forces invaded Kuwait. President Saddam Hussein´s plan was to annex Kuwait´s territory. The Security Council reacted quickly and that same day a formal session was held to discuss the case. Kuwait requested the Security Council to intervene in order to ensure the immediate withdrawal of Iraq´s forces. Iraq, in turn, wanted to avoid the conflict's becoming an international issue, stating that it was an internal matter of Kuwait´s where, supposedly, a coup d'etat had occurred and a Free Provisional Government had been established, which had asked for Iraq's aid in reestablishing law and order.
During the meeting of the Security Council, Colombia's representative indicated that Colombia had always supported the principle of non--intervention in the internal affairs of other states, in addition to opposing the use of force or the threat of force. During this session Resolution 660 was approved with the affirmative vote of 14 of the Security Council's 15 members, with the exception of Yemen which voted against it. The resolution condemned the invasion, demanding the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Iraq's forces. Given that Iraq failed to comply with the provisions of Resolution 666 of 1990, establishing an economic embargo against Iraq, cosponsored by Colombia, was then approved. In order to monitor compliance the Resolution the Security Council set up a Committee presided by Finland and with the vice-presidency of Canada and Colombia. Foreseeing that the embargo might not be the solution, it was warned that should it not have an effect, it would be followed by military action.
In spite of the foregoing stipulations, Iraq declared its merger with Kuwait, and the Security Council therefore approved Resolution 662 of August 9, 1990, which stated that the annexation of Kuwait lacked all legal validity. Colombia, as one of the promoters of Regional Organizations in San Francisco, proposed mediation by the League of Arab States, but the idea was discarded.
Irak continued to ignore orders from the Security Council, leading thus to approval of Resolution 665 of August 25, 1990, determining the use of force and on which Colombia voted affirmatively, although offering some observations. These observations mentioned that the Resolution was hasty and imprecise. Colombia underlined its importance, but lamented that the rapidity with which negotiations took place had impeded the non-permanent members of the Security Council from participating more actively in improving the text. But, above all said Ambassador Enrique Peñalosa, Colombia was concerned that authority was being delegated without knowing to whom, where it was to be exercised, and without those receiving the delegated responsibility from the Council having some to answer to.
"The August 25th session and the decisions made at it took on historical transcendence. For the first time in its 45 years of existence and after 2938 sessions of the Security Council in which diverse topics had been debated, the five permanent members agreed to a type of action only once used before the Security Council, but provided for in the United Nations Charter: the use of force by the Council, but applied on this occasion in a sui generis manner. The use of force itself was not be strange element (it had been done when UN troops were sent to Korea and on numerous occasions peace forces or blue helmets had been used) but the procedure fell outside that which was specifically provided for in the Charter and furthermore it went to Chapter VII without having exhausted Chapter VI. Nevertheless, the Resolution was drafted and applied in an ambiguous manner that led precisely to the reservations expressed by Colombia during informal consultations and during that session."
On November 29, 1990 Resolution 678 was approved, by 12 votes in favor including Colombia´s and 2 against it, Cuba and Yemen, with one abstention, China. This resolution set the final hour to begin the war and oriented the conflict toward a solution by force. Colombia´s position during all these events was well expressed at an interview granted to a Bogotá publication by Ambassador Enrique Peñalosa, who presided the Colombian Delegation in the Security Council during the course of these events:
"Colombia is not, nor will it ever be a super power, not even on a regional level. The only thing that makes and will continue to make us respectable and respected by other nations is our adherence to international law. We must not base our actions on short term convenience or interests. For this reason we do not always agree with North American policy; their national interests do not always coincide with ours, nor with international law. On this occasion, Colombia sponsored and led the voting among nonaligned countries on the resolution condemning Iraq´s invasion of Kuwait in the same way we had condemned the invasion of Panama by the United States in December. Colombia has always stood against the use of force in international relations. For Colombia, all invasions are bad."