Colombia at the Ministerial Meeting of the Non Aligned Movement during the 57th General Asambly
(New York, September 18, 2002)
STATEMENT BY H.E. CAROLINA BARCO MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF COLOMBIA
Being, today, the first time that I address a Ministerial Meeting of the Non Aligned Movement, I wish to cordially greet you all and to reaffirm Colombia's commitment to the inspiring principles of the Non Alignment and to its main objective of securing an international order based on justice, solidarity and the well being of our peoples.
It gives me great satisfaction that this, my first participation before you, takes place in the context adopted by the Movement to coordinate its positions regarding the agenda of the United Nations' General Assembly. This allows me to emphasize the validity of the principles of the Charter, that of multilateralism and the central role that the World Organization is called to play. To recall our responsibility in promoting the process of reform initiated at the end of the so-called Cold War era and that, hopefully, will provide us with a more democratic and more efficient Organization, strengthened in its political responsibilities and structural relationship, and, specially, oriented towards the promotion of international cooperation for development.
To attain all this objectives, your experience and skills, Madame Chairperson, will be of exceptional use to us all. I wish to express to you the satisfaction of my delegation at seeing you presiding over our works. You might count on our most determined cooperation. I wish you every success.
Less than two months ago and backed by one of the highest turn outs in the history of Colombian elections, the Government of President Alvaro Uribe Vélez assumed office. Encouraged by the support of most of Colombians we have introduce in the Congress several initiatives and proposals aimed at reactivating the economy which has been affected of late by internal factors and the consequences of external crisis. Urgent measures for the re-establishment of order and law have been adopted under the exceptional constitutional regime and within the most strict observance and respect of the fundamental rights. In the same manner, we have started important contacts to create an ideal scenario for a dialogue, aimed at attaining a political and negotiated solution to the internal conflict in Colombia, having as the only pre-requisite a cease of fire and hostilities.
I have done this brief reference to the internal situation of my country, since in the Colombian case coincide several elements of the agendas of the United Nations and the Non Aligned Movement.
To you all it might sound familiar the concept of shared responsibility that Colombia has invoked to demand the attention and solution of those problems which are trans-national in their causes and consequences.
We invoked it for the first time during the 20th Extraordinary Period of Sessions of the General Assembly dedicated to the common struggle against the world scourge of drugs, in 1989. We were convinced that the action against drugs should adopt a symmetrical, balanced and integral approach by all members of the international community.
Today we reaffirm our conviction. There is not an exclusive category of producer countries and, hence, the action can not be focused on the interdiction of the offer. Fight against drugs requires a consistent action from those countries registering a high level of consumption, as well as from those producing the chemicals precursors, small and light weapons, and from those where money laundry benefits from flexible banking and financial controls.
But, more over, the world business of illicit drugs is also the combustible that fuels terrorism. A part of the economic flow generated by this lucrative market finances international criminal organizations, among them, terrorists groups.
As in the case of drugs, the absence of controls to the trade of illicit weapons feeds internal conflicts and endangers the stability of nations and entire regions. Here, also, we have demanded the shared responsibility of all international community. However, we do not perceive any signal from those countries where weapons are produced showing their willingness to comply with the targets of the Plan of Action adopted during the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Traffic of Small and Light Weapons, that took place here, in New York, under the chairmanship of Colombia, in June, last year.
Related to the illicit traffic of drugs and weapons is the problem of corruption - a phenomenon that affects our daily lives, both in the public and private sectors, and requires our full attention. Colombia has not been immune or indifferent to this problem. Currently, in Vienna, we preside over the work of the Ad Hoc Committee tasked with the preparation of a United Nations Convention against Corruption. We are working earnestly to meet the wish of the member States for a legal instrument to further strengthen international cooperation, technical assistance and the recovery of illicit assets to turn them over to the countries of origin. Such basic objectives in the fight against corruption require the effective application of the principle of shared responsibility.
Shared responsibility must also be extended to migratory issues. Countries of origin and recipient countries will be able to cope adequately with the economic, social, legal and cultural aspects of this issue when they reach agreement on procedures and mechanisms to facilitate an orderly flow of migrants.
This will allow for a solution to other related criminal activities, such as trafficking of persons, a most terrifying business when it involves children and women.
Those of our countries affected by the displacement of persons resulting from situations of armed conflict must come to the conclusion that further reflection on the concept of shared responsibility is required to promote international cooperation to care for these people with the help of UNHCR.
Finally, the social agenda of our time requires of us the highest commitment. In addition to the implementation of actions and objectives agreed to during the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children and at the World Assembly on Aging, we must act together to preserve the gains from the world summits hold in the nineties.
Tomorrow most of us will come together as the Group of 77 to examine the world economic situation in the light of the program of work of the 57th General Assembly. Let us join efforts. Let us reinforce our actions. Let us benefit from the coordination mechanism adopted in Cairo in 1994 and reaffirmed in Havana two years ago. Let us take recourse to the Joint Coordination Committee set up jointly by the G-77 and our group. Our common support will open up better opportunities for the economic negotiations of the G-77.
The best tools at our disposal to work for a better world are the collective resolve that we can gather to face world problems, as well as the solidarity that guides our movement. This is the legacy handed down from the founders of Non Alignment. Let us rise to the challenge and act now.
Thank you very much.