Public debate on Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts
(New York, February 20 2003)
Statement by Ambassador Luis Guillermo Giraldo, Permanent Representative of Colombia
Colombia subscribes to the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Perú on behalf of the Rio Group. However, the Government of Colombia has decided to speak in this open debate of the Security Council in connection with the item "Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts", since the terrorist acts that my country has been suffering lately highlight the international dimension of the Colombian internal conflict.
Allow me, in the name of the people and the Government of Colombia to thank this Council for the adoption last Thursday of resolution 1465 (2003) condemning the terrorist attack in Bogota on February 7 in which 35 people were killed and close to 200 were injured.
Unfortunately the very day after to the adoption of this resolution, that was last Friday, we had to lament, another bomb attack in the city of Neiva, south of Colombia, that left 15 dead, more than 50 wounded and destroyed more than 70 houses belonging to people with limited resources.
Our country is living a terrorist wave mainly due to the FARC guerrillas. These so-called "Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia" have announced more terrorist attacks of this nature.
In this open debate of the Security Council on terrorism the Government of Colombia would like to contribute with some thoughts about this issue.
Today, two inseparable elements exist in our protracted conflict: the internal aspect and the external aspect.
Generally only the first one is considered. Deaths, attacks, terrorism, bomb, antipersonnel mines, kidnappings, extortion, illicit drug trafficking, all that is committed by the illegal armed groups in our territory.
With regard to this aspect, the Government of Colombia recognizes its obligations. Having as paradigm the respect of our Constitution, for the laws, international treaties, human rights and international humanitarian law, my Government is stepping up the States presence with more soldiers and policemen, better trained, with the mission to protect all Colombians. Democratic Security for civilians, unionists, human rights defenders, businessmen and workers. This aspect, the internal one, is one that we Colombians have to tackle and control.
But there is yet another aspect to our internal conflict that generally is not considered: the external one. The terrorist attacks that we are suffering are possible because of the deadly alliance that exist between illicit drug trafficking and the guerrillas, who derive their financing from that activity. The explosives were negotiated and acquired externally and were paid using international bank accounts fed by the narcotrafficking. The chemical precursors, indispensable to produce the illicit drugs, arrive to Colombia through similar process. Generally speaking, the arms that fuel our conflict also get into Colombia that way.
This is why Colombia cannot stand alone in its fight against terrorism and its inseparable ally within the inside and outside of the country: the world drug problem.
Without the cooperation of the international community, not money terms, but with the use of effective judicial and police actions such as those imposed by resolution 1373 (2001), we are unable to fight against terrorism and its sponsor: drug trafficking.
For this reason, we turn to the United Nations so that, as it has done in other difficult situations, in regard to the international aspects of the Colombian internal conflict, it indicates alternatives and induces the international community to support the peoples and the States that work to preserve the high principles of the Organization and that strive daily to protect the dignity of human beings.
As we reiterate our support to the work of the Security Council and its Counter Terrorism Committee to combat this universal scourge, support that we expressed throughout the period when we acted as a non permanent member of the Council, I wish to state with certainty, that the Security Council will respond to our peoples' expectations related to the historic role that it should be playing in the fight against terrorism in all the regions of the world.