Open debate on Briefings by Chairmen of Subsidiary Bodies of the Security Council
(New York, November 13, 2009)
Statement by Ambassador Claudia Blum, Permanent Representative of Colombia
Colombia appreciates the reports of the subsidiary bodies of the Security Council that have been presented in today's meeting. The work of these Committees is especially recognized by the Government of my country.
Colombia wishes to emphasize the importance of ensuring international cooperation and the commitment of each and every Member State in honoring the international obligations in the fight against terrorism and connected criminal matters.
My country makes this call based on its experience. We, Colombians, have suffered the terrorist acts of illegal armed groups, some of them already demobilized, some others still subsisting, like FARC and ELN. Our solid and recognized democratic practice gives us the authority to reiterate that today these groups' raison d'être is the criminal business of drug trafficking. The said groups are not only repudiated by the Colombian people, but they are also designated as terrorist in the lists of an important number of countries, including several States members of this Council.
In order to confront terrorist violence, which will allow achieving higher levels of investment, growth, social development and well-being, we, Colombians, have implemented since 2002 the Democratic Security Policy. It has allowed curbing crime, making progress in guaranteeing the effective enjoyment of rights, and the strengthening of democratic institutions.
In achieving this progress, international solidarity and cooperation have also been essential. It is clear that no country can confront terrorism by itself.
International solidarity has included the repudiation of terrorist groups. This Council condemned, in its resolution 1465, the terrorist act that occurred in Bogota in February 2003, and it urged all States to cooperate with Colombia in accordance with resolution 1373, in order to locate and bring to justice those who were responsible. That terrorist act has been one of many carried out by FARC.
Plan Colombia, which was funded with significant national resources, and the support of international cooperation, in particular by the United States, has reported verifiable achievements in the fight against the world drug problem. The 2008 World Report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime informs about important declines both in the illicit crops, and the production of drugs, as well as a sharp increase in seizures of these substances. Those who discredit the effectiveness of Plan Colombia, show a deep lack of knowledge of today's reality that we, Colombians, live in.
In Colombia, we have also experienced the adverse effect of lack of cooperation and the interference by another country in internal affairs. In this regard, I must refer to the particular concern that Colombia experiences by the lack of willingness by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to cooperate in the fight against criminal groups that have inflicted great pain to my country. This lack of willingness is reflected in several ways, and I will refer to some examples, that the Government of Colombia has already brought to the attention of the members of this Council.
There has been diversion of arms from Venezuela to groups recognized as terrorists that operate in Colombia. Recently anti-tank weapons and its munitions were found in a camp belonging to the illegal armed group FARC, by Colombian authorities. There is a record of the legal sale of this weaponry to the Venezuelan Government. On this matter, the Foreign Minister of Colombia handed in a dossier to that Government, and to date the satisfactory explanation, that an issue of such seriousness merits has not been received.
Colombia and Venezuela, established since the eighties, reciprocal cooperation mechanisms in matters of border security and the fight against drug trafficking. Nonetheless, the Venezuelan Government decided not to continue its cooperation within the framework of these mechanisms, which in the past had proven to be effective in achieving greater control of illicit drug trafficking, and other criminal activities.
On another issue, the Venezuelan Government has generated misinformation regarding international cooperation agreements in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. It has referred to the agreement signed between Colombia and the United States of America. This agreement, resulting from a long history of cooperation between both countries, is restricted to the only purpose of combating illicit drug trafficking and terrorism in Colombia. It will be implemented, in strict compliance with the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity of the States, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States. The misinformation or distortion will not alter the legal soundness and political transparency of the actions of the Government of Colombia.
The people of Colombia does not understand why the Venezuelan Government insists on questioning the national and cooperation strategies implemented to confront drug trafficking and terrorism in my country. The people of Colombia, committed to its democratic institutions in the fight against these manifestations, does not understand either, and receives with dismay the threat of war uttered last Sunday by the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, about which the Government of Colombia timely informed the members of this Council.
My delegation shares the concern of this Council about the connection between terrorism and international crime, illicit drugs and the illicit traffic of arms. Colombia trusts that this Council will continue to promote measures to insure that, in accordance with resolution 1373, all States refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to groups involved in acts of terrorism.
In this regard, my Government will continue to actively cooperate with the United Nations in the fight against terrorism. Likewise, it will continue to support other countries' efforts to confront crime and drug trafficking. We will continue to contribute our experience and good practices in this field.
My Government wishes to thank those countries that, through effective cooperation, have contributed to the strengthening of our capacities in this fight, and we invite those who still have not done so, to show their solidarity with a people that repudiates terrorism and desires to live in a country with development and well being.
Thank you. Mr. President.