Open Debate on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait
(New York, March 26, 2003)
Statement by Ambassador Luis Guillermo Giraldo, Permanent Representative of Colombia
Colombia decided to speak in this open debate due to the evident urgency in providing the Iraqi people, as soon as possible, the required humanitarian assistance during these difficult moments.
Apart from the considerations regarding what occurred in the Security Council and in the international arena during the last three weeks, the Government of Colombia considers essential today, to try to prevent that the past distorts the present and future obligations, that contribute to relieve the conditions of the people of Iraq, and further on, to work on the reconstruction of the Nation.
Last 17th of March, in a press release, Colombia urged the United Nations to grant the people of Iraq, in all the stages of this crisis, the required humanitarian assistance. We urged the international community as well, to contribute to the objective of providing new opportunities for development and progress for the Iraqi people, in a democratic context and with full respect for human rights and liberties. President Uribe Vélez, in a message to the Colombian people, had already expressed it when he said that; "international actions must protect all civilians and respect the democratic rights of the Iraqi people".
It is indispensable that the Security Council and the United Nations take the issue on Iraq again in order to give the Iraqi people the aid they need for the reconstruction of their country. We have to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe, for hunger and starvation could happen in the next few weeks.
Colombia exhorts all of the members of the Security Council to stop the debate of the last three weeks and concentrate in real aspects, of life and sustenance for the Iraqi people, to provide for humanitarian assistance, to continue with the "Oil for Food" program, prioritize the humanitarian supplies and allow the required financing of all of these activities. It is fundamental that the draft resolution that is actually being debated, grants the Secretary General the sufficient authority and flexibility to pursue these activities. It is urgent to adopt this draft resolution as soon as possible.
We can and we shall, later on, debate on all the legal aspects of the situation that we are living today, and surely the arguments of the Member States will serve as guidelines for future crises and similar situations. But today, our main concern should be that of being at the same ethical level of this time. Before, theorists and pragmatics of war talked about the devastated land and the circumstances against life related to it. How many things have changed as of today. The humanitarian aid, promoted by all, on the contrary, seeks to alleviate all the painful conditions and protect life in the middle of the confrontation and also, once it has finished.
Let´s make a halt to words and return to the human being. The requirements of humanitarian assistance expose us to a situation of rapid obligatory action. Lets open the way so that the United Nations can give that vital contribution.