SECURITY COUNCIL FAILS TO AUTHORIZE DEPLOYMENT OF UN MILITARY OBSERVERS TO VERIFY IMPLEMENTATION OF CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT IN GUATEMALA
SECURITY COUNCIL FAILS TO AUTHORIZE DEPLOYMENT OF UN MILITARY OBSERVERS TO VERIFY IMPLEMENTATION OF CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT IN GUATEMALA
SECURITY COUNCIL FAILS TO AUTHORIZE DEPLOYMENT OF UN MILITARY OBSERVERS TO VERIFY IMPLEMENTATION OF CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT IN GUATEMALA19970110 Draft Resolution Supported by 14 Members; Voting against Text, China Says No Country's Peace Should Be at Expense of Another's Sovereignty
A veto by China prevented the Security Council from authorizing the deployment of 155 United Nations military observers to verify the implementation of the cease-fire agreement signed on 4 December 1996 by the Guatemalan Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). The observers would have become a military component of the United Nations Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA).
By a vote of 14 in favour to 1 against (China), with no abstentions, the Council failed to adopt a 12-Power draft resolution that would have established a United Nations verification mechanism which, when fully deployed, would have facilitated the cease-fire's entry into force. Such a provision is part of the definitive cease-fire agreement, which went into effect with the 29 December 1996 signing of the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace by the two parties in Guatemala City.
Speaking after the vote, the representative of China said that "no country's peace process should be at the expense of another country's sovereignty and territorial integrity". Regrettably, he added, the Guatemalan Government had for four years supported activities aimed at splitting China in the Organization in violation of the United Nations Charter. It disregarded China's warnings and invited Taiwan authorities to the signing ceremony of the peace agreement in Guatemala, providing them with a venue for secessionist activities against China.
He declared that "there is but one China in the world and the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the entire Chinese people. The question of Taiwan is a major question of principle that bears upon China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and the cause of national reunification". The Chinese Government has no room for compromise on that question, he stressed.
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The representative of Costa Rica expressed deep regret that one permanent member of the Council had vetoed an opportunity for the United Nations to play a more crucial role in the peace process in Central America for reasons that had little to do with the problems in the region. The non- deployment of United Nations observers would not damage Guatemala or Central America, rather, it would cause damage to the United Nations, he said.
While he had voted for the draft, the representative of the Russian Federation expressed regret it had been brought to a vote hastily, without giving sufficient time for further negotiations.
Addressing the Council before the vote, Guatemala's representative said his country had never intended to interfere in the internal affairs of any other State and its conduct was guided by the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. However, bilateral matters should not be injected into the Council's deliberations, he added.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Colombia, Venezuela, Netherlands (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Norway, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Canada, United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Poland, Sweden, Egypt, Kenya, Guinea-Bissau, Chile, Japan and the United States.
The meeting, called to order at 6:34 p.m., was adjourned at 8:37 p.m.
Council Work Programme
When the Security Council met this evening, it had before it a report on Central America: efforts towards peace (document S/1996/1045 and Adds.1 and 2), in which the Secretary-General asks it to authorize a three-month deployment of 155 observers in a military component attached to the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA). The observers would verify the implementation of the definitive cease-fire agreement signed on 4 December in Oslo by the Guatemalan Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). While that accord went into force with the two sides' signing of the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace on 29 December, the cease-fire itself will enter into force on the date a United Nations verification mechanism is deployed at full operational capacity.
Should the Council authorize their deployment, the Secretary-General says, the observers would also verify the separation of forces and the demobilization of some 3,000 URNG combatants. Requested by the Guatemalan parties, they would be deployed in that country for three months at a cost of $3.4 million, which would be borne by Member States and credited to a special account to be established for the mission.
Explaining the operational concept behind MINUGUA's military component, the Secretary-General says that the observers will have to arrive in the mission area at least 15 days before Guatemala's cease-fire goes into effect. Between their arrival and the cease-fire's entry into force, they would be based in Guatemala City, with sectoral headquarters in that city and in Santa Cruz de Quiché.
As from 10 days before the cease-fire's entry into force, the Secretary- General says, the United Nations would deploy its personnel and equipment to verify the cease-fire at sites agreed to by the parties. During the cease- fire, MINUGUA's military observers would be present, for verification purposes, in designated units of the Guatemalan armed forces and at eight designated URNG assembly points. They would investigate alleged cease-fire violations.
Regarding the separation of forces, the Secretary-General says that the process would be carried out in several stages, with some Guatemalan soldiers redeploying to specified locations and URNG fighters gathering at various sites before moving to the assembly points. The redeployment of the Guatemalan armed forces is to start two days after the cease-fire goes into effect and to continue for no more than eight more days. The URNG fighters would begin their movement between 11 and 21 days after the cease-fire is in effect, as long as the Guatemalan armed forces have completed theirs. The URNG movements to the assembly points would be escorted by United Nations troops.
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After the cease-fire becomes effective, the Secretary-General says, combatants would not be allowed to leave the assembly points without United Nations permission. The Organization's military observers would provide unarmed escort to URNG combatants leaving the assembly points for medical treatment and humanitarian purposes or to point out clandestine arms and munition depots and minefields.
From the beginning of the cease-fire until the completion of the URNG's movement to the assembly points, United Nations military observers would establish eight team sites of 15 personnel each to verify the cease-fire, according to the Secretary-General. Another 32 personnel would be placed at the eight team sites for command and control purposes.
The creation of six-kilometre-wide security zones around the URNG assembly points would ensure a minimum of that distance between Guatemalan armed forces units and the assembly points, reports the Secretary-General. Only United Nations military personnel would be allowed access there. A coordination zone with a radius of a further six kilometres would be established around each security zone. Movement in the coordination zones by members of the Guatemalan armed forces or volunteer civil defence committees must be coordinated in advance with United Nations military personnel.
Regarding the disarming of the URNG, the Secretary-General says that the registration and storage of weapons in the URNG assembly points would be verified by the permanent presence of United Nations military observers. The URNG is to provide the United Nations with details on the number of its combatants, on the inventories of weapons, explosives and of all other military equipment. The disarming process would consist of depositing, registering and handing over of all types of weapons and ammunition to the United Nations. Between 11 and 42 days after the cease-fire, the URNG would leave its military equipment and weapons in United Nations-designated warehouses. However, combatants could keep their personal equipment and weapons as long as they remain at the assembly points. The URNG weapons would be transferred to the appropriate Guatemalan authorities by the United Nations after the completion of the demobilization process. The URNG combatants would turn in their personal weapons and uniforms before vacating the assembly points.
The Secretary-General says that the demobilization of URNG's combatants, which would end its military structure, should be completed in phases 60 days after the cease-fire has gone into effect, under the terms of the definitive cease-fire agreement.
The 4 December definitive cease-fire agreement was the third such pact in the Guatemalan peace process signed in 1996, the report states. It was preceded by the 6 May agreement on social, economic and agrarian issues and the 19 September pact on the strengthening of civilian power and on the role of the armed forces. Both were signed in Mexico City.
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Two other accords have been initialled since the definitive cease-fire agreement, says the Secretary-General. They are the 7 December Stockholm agreement on constitutional and electoral reforms and the 12 December Madrid pact on the integration of the URNG into Guatemala's political life.
In an earlier report on MINUGUA (document S/1996/998), the Secretary- General reviewed some of those agreements and what they had contributed to ending the 35 years of armed conflict in Guatemala.
According to the report, the entry into force of the agreements would represent a major challenge for the parties and the United Nations, which was asked by the parties to verify their accords by the terms of the Framework Agreement for the Resumption of the Negotiating Process of 10 January 1994.
However, he stated, measures to verify the peace accords fell outside MINUGUA's mandate, which related exclusively to implementing the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and the human rights aspects of the agreement on identity and rights of indigenous peoples. He recommended that MINUGUA be authorized, on an exceptional basis, to help verify the peace agreements; a process that would involve the deployment of United Nations military personnel.
Text of Draft Resolution
The Council also has before it a draft resolution (document S/1997/18), sponsored by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela, which reads as follows:
"The Security Council
"Recalling the Framework Agreement for the Resumption of the Negotiating Process between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) of 10 January 1994 (S/1994/53, annex) and all subsequent agreements, in which the parties agreed to request the United Nations to carry out international verification of the peace accords,
"Acknowledging the efforts of the Secretary-General, the Group of Friends of the Guatemala Peace Process, the international community, the United Nations system and other international agencies in support of the peace process,
"Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General of 26 November 1996 (S/1996/998) on the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA), which states that verification measures related to the
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agreement on the definitive cease-fire signed at Oslo on 4 December 1996 (S/1996/1045, annex) would involve inter alia the deployment of United Nations military personnel,
"Taking note also of the report of the Secretary-General of 17 December 1996 (S/1996/1045*) outlining the measures necessary for the verification of the agreement on the definitive cease-fire and the addenda to this report of 23 and 30 December 1996 (S/1996/1045, Add.1 and Add.2), and noting that the cease-fire will enter into force on the date the United Nations mechanism is in place with full operational capacity,
"Welcoming the agreements between the Government of Guatemala and the URNG which were signed at Guatemala City on 29 December 1996 and which, with the overall package of peace accords signed in Madrid, Mexico City, Oslo and Stockholm, put a definitive end to the Guatemalan internal conflict and will foster national reconciliation and economic development,
"1. Decides, in accordance with the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General of 17 December 1996, to authorize for a three- month period the attachment to MINUGUA of a group of 155 military observers and requisite medical personnel for the purposes of verification of the agreement on the definitive cease-fire, and requests the Secretary-General to notify the Council no later than two weeks before the operation is to begin;
"2. Calls upon both parties to implement fully their commitments under the agreements signed in Guatemala City and to cooperate fully with the verification of the cease-fire, separation of forces, disarmament and demobilization of URNG combatants, as well as commitments under the other agreements in the overall package of Peace Accords;
"3. Invites the international community to continue its support for the peace process in Guatemala and, in particular, for the implementation of the agreements referred to in paragraph 2 above,
"4. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council fully informed on the implementation of this resolution and to report on the conclusion of the military observer mission."
JULIO ARMANDO MARTINI HERRERA (Guatemala) said his country had successfully concluded a peace agreement that only required verification through a peace-keeping force recommended by the Secretary-General. The international community had encouraged the peace process all the way and was looking forward to Council action that would help implement the peace
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agreement. The negotiations had been difficult. They had been supported by the United Nations, which had authorized the MINUGUA. Also, the Secretary- General and the Group of Friends of the peace process had played key roles in the talks.
He said that after the conclusion of the peace process and the signing of the agreements, a mechanism was needed to verify implementation of the cease-fire agreement. A majority of Council members would support deployment of the observers to verify the agreement. He expressed hope that the Council would decide favourably on the issue at hand.
As for the country that had shown some difficulties with the question before the Council, Guatemala was in consultation with that country in order to resolve the existing difficulties, he continued. His country never intended to interfere in the internal affairs of any other country. His Government's conduct in that regard was guided by the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry had sent a letter to the President of the Council reporting the status of the negotiations between Guatemala and another country. Bilateral matters, however, should not be injected into the Council's deliberations. Furthermore, a permanent member of the Council should not be encouraged in the use of its veto, which was an abuse of its status. If that power was exercised, the General Assembly should take adequate note of such an occurrence.
JULIO LONDOÑO-PAREDES (Colombia) welcomed the opportunity to participate in the historic moment towards consolidating peace in Guatemala. The signing of the peace agreement on 29 December was of significance to the entire southern hemisphere. Colombia had always had close bonds with Central America. During the complex stage of that conflict his country as part of the Contadora Group, together with four other Latin American countries, had helped to sow the seeds of peace in the region. The group had also promoted dialogue in the conflict in El Salvador and had witnessed the historic first steps to peace in that country. Colombia had also been a member of the Group of Friends of the Guatemala Peace Process. Colombia was proud to have contributed to peace there.
Peace among Guatemalans had been the result of an arduous process which reflected the determination of its people, he said. Only peace could overcome the barriers to economic and social development. Peace was needed to contribute to the building of a new Guatemala. He praised the Guatemalan Government, the URNG and the United Nations for its tireless work of mediation. It was now time for verification of the peace agreements. The international community and the Security Council should do all they could to achieve the desired results. The peace process would help to consolidate democracy and strengthen Guatemala's relations with all Member States of the United Nations.
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OSCAR DE ROJAS (Venezuela) said he completely supported the report of the Secretary-General and the draft resolution on the deployment of observers in Guatemala. He supported the deployment of a small group of military observers which had been requested by the parties to the Guatemalan conflict. The international community should give the support needed to help the Guatemalan people embark on the process of peace and reconstruction. The people of Guatemala should be assured that they would receive the support of the international community and of Venezuela.
NICOLAAS H. BIEGMAN (Netherlands), speaking for the European Union and Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, said the Union had reiterated its readiness to help the people of Guatemala to implement their peace agreement. The two parties should fulfil in good faith their commitments under the agreements. Guatemalans deserved to live in peace, at last. The country faced the challenge of building a democratic society that was open to all and governed by the rule of law. The Union supported the recommendation of the Secretary-General for the deployment of a small group of military observers in Guatemala. Expressing the hope that the draft resolution would be adopted unanimously, he supported the attachment of 155 military observers to MINUGUA. The parties should honour their commitments and cooperate with any verification mechanism.
SVEIN AASS (Norway) said the peace agreement was the result of negotiations between the Guatemalan Government and the URNG, which started with an accord in Oslo in March 1990, establishing a format for formal talks. The international community and the United Nations had played an essential role in the peace process. The patient and constructive mediation by the United Nations since 1994, coupled with the engagement of the Group of Friends, had contributed significantly to the peaceful outcome of the conflict.
There would be no peace without development, education, tolerance and equal opportunities, he said. To ensure a smooth transition to a new phase of reconstruction and reconciliation, Guatemalans would need some "help from their friends". Some of the help would be provided by donor countries and international institutions. "But to assist the Guatemalans in the process of beating their swords into ploughshares, the Secretary-General had recommended the attachment to MINUGUA of a group of 155 military observers and requisite medical personnel."
Norway, he said, had co-sponsored the draft resolution as a member of the Group of Friends. Considering the heavy toll which had been exacted from its people in the armed conflict, he expressed the hope that no extraneous issue would be allowed to impede the endeavour to assure Guatemala of a better future. He urged the Council to adopt the draft text. There was much at stake in the vote of the Council and it was in its hands to "give peace a chance" in Guatemala.
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MANUEL TELLO (Mexico) expressed joy at the signing of the peace agreement between the Government of Guatemala and the URNG, which was a source of pride for the Guatemalan people. It was a time of hope for all Guatemalans whose shared objectives included harmonious existence. It was a historic time in their lives.
Mexico and Guatemala shared much in terms of their history and culture, he continued. They were fraternal countries which were working to develop into two modern and dynamic nations. Tribute must be paid to the Guatemalan Government for its historic conviction that harmony and peace was the only course for its people. The dialogue and reason demonstrated by the Government and the URNG must be commended. It was a success for the entire Guatemalan society which had decided to take the course of solidarity and peace. He commended former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali who had tirelessly promoted the peace process. Gratitude must also be expressed to the United Nations moderator and the staff dealing with the situation in Guatemala at the United Nations Secretariat.
The draft resolution was not the solution of the definitive element of peace in Guatemala, he continued. It was a decision already adopted by the Guatemalan society. It was only a recognition that the United Nations had a role to play in the construction of an order that was, if not different, at least new. The draft resolution was a small demonstration of the solidarity the Guatemalan people needed to launch a democratic nation. He appealed to the Security Council to adopt the draft text and therefore show its determination to discharge its responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. In that spirit, Mexico hoped that the draft would be adopted unanimously reflecting firm support for the efforts that had put an end to a conflict that had caused bloodshed on the continent.
ARTURO LACLAUSTRA (Spain) said the mechanism for verifying the agreements between the two sides had been entrusted to the United Nations, and the Secretary-General had recommend the deployment of a mission of 155 soldiers to do so. Spain was one of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution that would authorize the observers' deployment. Such a deployment would help Central America move from being a region of conflict to one of peace. Spain was ready to contribute to the military component of MINUGUA, had increased its level of cooperation with Guatemala and Madrid had been the site of the signing of one the Guatemalan peace agreements.
ANA MARIA RAMIREZ (Argentina) said that the final peace Agreement of 29 December, which would end the decades-old conflict would make it possible to reverse the political, social and economic devastation it had caused. The agreement would lead to peace, freedom, the rule of law and respect for human rights. There was a need for follow-up action from the United Nations, such as the verification of the cease-fire, the separation of forces and the demobilization of combatants. Therefore, she supported the Secretary- General's recommendation of a military component for MINUGUA, which would be
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authorized by the draft resolution before the Council. Argentina was a co- sponsor of the draft because it supported efforts that fostered peace in the area and it had already provided some civilian police to Guatemala.
ROBERT R. FOWLER (Canada) said the fundamental issue today was how the international community could help the people of Guatemala inculcate a culture of peace in their society. After decades to conflict and extreme mistrust and insecurity, there was an urgent need to construct sustainable human security in Guatemala, including human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good governance, sustainable development and social equity. All of those were as important as the military aspects of the peace settlement.
Canada believed the international community was at the critical point where the peace-building measures envisaged in the Guatemala accords must be rapidly implemented or the momentum would be lost, he said. The international community needed to help put in place the conditions that would allow Guatemala to take charge of its own destiny and move forward with the important tasks of social, political and economic reconstruction it had set itself in the Peace Accords.
In order to move forward with that work, he said, the Council was considering a draft resolution which provided for a mandate for a military component to be added to the General Assembly Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala, MINUGUA. Canada enthusiastically supported that initiative and stood ready to contribute military observers to it.
The Council President, HISASHI OWADA (Japan), put the draft resolution to the vote.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) welcomed the signing of the peace agreement of 29 December that signalled the end of a long conflict. Tribute should be paid to both parties and the role of the United Nations mediation team should be commended. The foundations for peace had been laid. The period of reconciliation was important. At that crucial juncture, the international community and the Security Council should support the peace process.
The United Kingdom had agreed that there should be a rapid deployment of military observers, he said. Authorization of their deployment was the Council's responsibility. The United Kingdom would therefore vote in favour of the draft resolution and hoped that it would be adopted. The members of the Security Council should all measure up to their responsibility in that matter. The United Kingdom had been a firm supporter of the Guatemala peace process and would continue to work to consolidate democracy in the region. He pledged his Government's full support for the Guatemalan people and appealed to the international community to ensure a peaceful future in Guatemala.
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ANTONIO VICTOR MARTINS MONTEIRO (Portugal) welcomed the signing of the final peace agreement between the Government of Guatemala and the URNG. Peace and national reconciliation were now within the grasp of the Guatemalan people. The consequences of the peace agreement were not restricted to Guatemala. It would contribute to peace and economic development in the whole region. Tribute must be paid to the patience of the former Secretary-General, to the Group of Friends and the United Nations as a whole.
Respect for human rights should continue to be consolidated in Guatemala, he said. The men and women of MINUGUA should also be commended. Expressing hope for the implementation of the peace agreements, including those relating to the rights of indigenous people, he said MINUGUA's presence was important. It had played an indispensable role towards the restoration of law and order. The international community had a duty to respond to the request to provide adequate means to support the peace agreements. The parties should be helped to implement the accords they had signed. The adoption of the draft resolution would be an important contribution to the peace process. The Government and the URNG must continue to discharge the mutual commitment they had made.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) praised the efforts of the Secretary-General and of the United Nations moderator of the peace negotiations, Jean Arnault. The proposal to send the military observers was in keeping with the mission of the United Nations and the Security Council. The French delegation would vote in favour of the draft resolution, which would help the Council live up to its responsibility to international peace and security.
PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said that the role of the United Nations in the region had been noteworthy. In Guatemala and elsewhere in Central America, the United Nations had played an indispensable role throughout the conflict in promoting peace by making available its good offices and by establishing MINUGUA in 1994. The Organization should also help consolidate the historic progress that had been made towards lasting peace in Guatemala.
He said he supported the deployment of observers to help verify the peace agreements in Guatemala. The size and duration of the deployment of the observers recommended by the Secretary-General would enable the effective fulfilment of the tasks of cease-fire verification, the separation of forces and the disarmament and demobilization of URNG combatants. The Republic of Korea would, therefore, vote in favour of the draft resolution to authorize the deployment of the 155 military observers and required medical personnel for three months.
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ZBIGNIEW M. WLOSOWICZ (Poland), welcoming the signing of the final peace agreement between the Guatemalan Government and the URNG, said the two parties had united in their willingness to ensure a secure, peaceful and stable life for their country. Yesterday's adversaries should be congratulated for their courage and far-sightedness, but it was the Guatemalan people who should be commended. The end of the war and the commitment of the parties to implement their agreements would create an environment favourable to further democratization, economic recovery and the promotion of the rule of law.
The international community, including the United Nations deserved to be commended for their assistance in the parties' attempts to peacefully resolve the conflict and in setting the framework for their cooperation, he said. In that context, Poland appreciated MINUGUA's contribution. Continued United Nations assistance was indispensable for the successful implementation of the peace agreements in Guatemala. That applied, above all, to the agreement on the definitive cease-fire signed at Oslo on 4 December and to the related verification measures.
In the light of the previous international investments in the Guatemalan peace process, the international community could not afford to fail to respond positively to the parties' request to entrust the team of United Nations military observers to verify the peace agreement, he said. Therefore, Poland would vote in favour of the draft resolution authorizing the attachment of the observers to MINUGUA. Tribute must be paid to the Group of Friends for the role it played in preparing the draft resolution.
PETER OSVALD (Sweden) said the signing of the December 29 peace agreement in Guatemala had put an end to 36 years of bitter conflict. Guatemala would now have a chance to devote its energies to peaceful long-term development together with the rest of the Central American region. Since the 1970s, Sweden had worked in support of democracy and peace in Central America, and had played an active part in developments leading to the historic peace agreement in Guatemala. The Swedish Government had been honoured to host the signing of the agreement on constitutional reform and the electoral regime in Stockholm last December. His Government had pledged substantial contributions in support of demobilization and the reintegration of the former combatants into society.
Sweden had participated in MINUGUA and was also a substantial contributor to its fund for institution-building, he said. The United Nations had played a crucial role in laying a foundation for peace in Guatemala through MINUGUA, the Secretariat's Guatemalan Unit and the United Nations Moderator, Jean Arnault. The Group of Friends had also made important contributions in support of the peace process.
The task of verifying the military aspects of the peace settlement should be carried out by the attachment to MINUGUA of a group of military observers and some medical personnel, he continued. It was in keeping with
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United Nations practice that the military component be authorized under a Security Council mandate. It was a case in which the Council was called on to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It was therefore important that the Council adopt the draft resolution.
The Guatemalan peace agreement was multi-dimensional and was a good example of how a practical application of a broader concept of security could create a basis for peaceful development. The package also included agreements on constitutional, social and economic issues, human rights and the identity and rights of indigenous peoples. It was appropriate that verification be entrusted to a multi-dimensional United Nations operation. Coordination among all international organizations and agencies supporting the peace process was important.
Tribute must be paid to the Guatemalan parties themselves who had carried the peace process forward and would carry the responsibility of its success. The final success of the peace process would be measured by the implementation of all aspects of the peace agreements.
NABIL ELARABY (Egypt) said that the General Assembly had adopted many resolutions and decisions on the question of Guatemala, including the text that established MINUGUA. The Council should enhance the chances of success for the Guatemalan peace agreements by adopting the draft text before it. Egypt would vote in favour of the draft because it believed that the Council should grant the requests of those who had asked for its support in order to implement the peace agreement they had signed. Egypt understood the circumstances related to the negotiations on the draft text. But those difficulties should not stop the Council from adopting the text to deploy the observers.
NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said both parties had expressed the desire to see the military aspects of the peace process implemented urgently. Therefore, the international community should support the peace process and should not be seen as wavering on the issue. Kenya would vote in favour of the draft resolution.
ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea-Bissau) said that the United Nations had closely followed the situation in Guatemala, which had threatened international peace and security and had been a danger to Central America. The Assembly had already played a central role in the search for peace in Guatemala and had created MINUGUA. The Council, for its part, had paid tribute to the members of the Contadora Group for their efforts to bring about peace in Guatemala. As for the Secretary-General, he had provided information that the Council required when it had to take a decision on the question of Guatemala.
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The Council should support the peace process, take all measures to consolidate it and help ensure the implementation of the peace agreements, he said. The Council had a responsibility to respond favourably to the Secretary-General's request for the observers to facilitate the overall implementation of the peace agreements. The people of Guatemala deserved the support of the international community. The cease-fire should be respected and the separation of forces implemented scrupulously. It was important to ensure quick disarmament and demobilization in the country. The measures would require the help of the international community. His delegation would vote in favour of the drat resolution, which deserved the unquestioned support of the Council.
JUAN LARRAIN (Chile) said the United Nations had played an important role in restoring normal civil life in Guatemala which should be a source of pride for the Organization. The last appeal of the Guatemalans for observers should be honoured by the United Nations. It would be a final effort by the Organization. The authorization of the military observers was a minimal dimension and would be at a low cost. It was a necessary operation and a demonstration of the Security Council's political will.
The Council was aware of its responsibility to preserve international peace and security and to consolidate the fostering of peace in Guatemala and in Central America, he said. Peace was a priority in the hemisphere. There was yet a long difficult road to be run. Chile would continue to promote peace in the region. Millions of Guatemalans were looking to the Security Council for support for peace. He appealed to the Council to ensure that Central America would be a region where peace, democracy and development prevailed.
Speaking as the representative of his country, Mr. OWADA (Japan) welcomed the signing of the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace between the Guatemalan Government and the URNG. Both parties were to be commended for their courageous and determined efforts in achieving that important and decisive first step towards peace and national reconciliation. The Agreement was of historic significance as it put an end to the last internal conflict in the region. Peoples throughout Central America could now look forward to building a peaceful and prosperous future.
The United Nations had played a crucial role in bringing the two sides to the negotiating table, which reminded the international community of the valuable contribution the Organization continued to make in maintaining international peace and security, he said. The Group of Friends should be admired for its contribution in promoting the negotiations. He hoped that genuine and enduring peace would take firm hold in Guatemala and he urged the Guatemalan Government and its people to join together to achieve national reconciliation and economic and social development.
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The deployment of 155 military observers and medical personnel would be useful in solidifying the peace, he continued. Therefore, Japan strongly supported the draft resolution authorizing that effort. It should be adopted unanimously, demonstrating to the broader international community that the Council was united in supporting the consolidation of peace in Guatemala and, particularly, the role that the United Nations had to play in that process.
The Government of Japan had followed with great interest and concern the peace and democratization process in Guatemala, he said. At the time of the November 1995 presidential election for example, Japan had sent an electoral observer and made a contribution of $100,000 to the Organization of American States (OAS) for its election monitoring activities. It also sent two electoral observers for the presidential election held in January 1996. Japan intended to make further political and financial contributions to the peace process in Guatemala, taking into account the country's specific needs.
Action on Draft Resolution
The vote on the draft resolution contained in document S/1997/18, authorizing the attachment of a military component to MINUGUA, was 14 in favour to 1 against (China), with no abstentions. The draft was not adopted due to the negative vote of a permanent member of the Security Council.
Speaking after the vote, EDWARD W. GNEHM (United States) said it was most unfortunate that the draft resolution had not been adopted. After more than three decades of intensive political and diplomatic efforts and negotiations, the people of Guatemala had gone to the verge of peace. It was regrettable that one member of the Council had not given precedence to the needs for regional peace in Central America over some other matters and voted for the draft.
He recalled that the Guatemalan Government and the URNG had succeeded in ending their conflict, which had cost more than 100,000 lives. They had ended the longest running conflict in Central America and could not embark on reconciliation and reconstruction. In order to consolidate the gains of the peace agreements, the disarmament and demobilization of the combatants were necessary. But, the Council's failure to authorize the deployment of the observers would not help the implementation of those measures. The United States would try to support other efforts to help the settlement in Guatemala. Donors would meet in Brussels later this month to consider making contributions to help rebuild Guatemala and the United States would contribute millions of dollars to help that country.
FERNANDO BERROCAL SOTO (Costa Rica) described as unfortunate the Council's failure, during Costa Rica's first vote as a non-permanent member of that body, to adopt the draft resolution. War had ended in about five Central American countries that had been engaged in conflicts and the rule of law had gained ground there. Guatemala, for its part, had ended war and was making
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efforts to establish a broad-based society that would be governed by the rule of law, democracy and other positive values. He had been encouraged by the efforts made by the Group of Friends and the United Nations to promote the peace agreements in Guatemala. For more than 10 years, the United Nations had supported the peace process in Guatemala, with the Security Council, lending constant attention to the situation in Central America.
He expressed deep regret that one delegation had vetoed an opportunity for the United Nations to play a more crucial role in the peace process due to reasons that had little to do with the problems in the region. The non- deployment of the observers would not damage Guatemala or Central America, rather, it would cause damage to the United Nations.
YURIY FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said the international community's efforts should be geared towards consolidating peace in Guatemala. The Russian Federation was ready to make its own contribution towards those ends and supported the Secretary-General's proposal to give MINUGUA 155 military observers for three months. It had voted for the draft resolution for those reasons.
He expressed regret that the draft resolution had been brought to a vote hastily, not giving sufficient time for further negotiations that might have led to a more positive outcome.
QIN HUASUN (China) said China had voted against the draft resolution before the Council. That was not a situation it would like to see. It was caused entirely by the erroneous acts of the Government of Guatemala.
China had all along supported the peace process in Guatemala and the relevant resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, he said. His country had welcomed the peace agreement reached by the two parties in Guatemala and sincerely hoped that peace and stability would prevail in the country. Regrettably, however, the Government of Guatemala had for four consecutive years, unscrupulously supported activities aimed at splitting China in the United Nations in flagrant violation of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and in disregard of repeated demarches of the Chinese Government. Furthermore, it had been bent on inviting, in disregard of the solemn warnings of the Chinese Government, the Taiwan authorities to the signing ceremony of the peace agreement in Guatemala, thereby providing them with a venue for secessionist activities against China.
It was the unshirkable responsibility of all Member States to safeguard the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, he said. The Government of Guatemala had trampled upon those purposes and principles, had contravened General Assembly resolution 2758 (XXVI), and infringed upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, interfered in its internal affairs and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. The Guatemalan authorities could not expect to have China's cooperation in the Security
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Council while taking actions to infringe upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. "No country's peace process should be at the expense of another country's sovereignty and territorial integrity", he stressed.
Despite the actions by the Government of Guatemala that had harmed China's interests, he said his Government had still made reasonable suggestions in a constructive and forward-looking approach in order to find a proper solution to the issue at hand and had hoped that the Government of Guatemala could take concrete actions to correct its mistakes. That had fully shown China's sincerity. However, the Government of Guatemala had turned a deaf ear and had clung to its erroneous position thereby setting serious obstacles to China's support for the draft resolution. The Government of Guatemala should be held responsible for all the consequences arising therefrom.
Continuing, he said: "I wish to reaffirm the principled position of China on the question of Taiwan. There is but one China in the world and the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the entire Chinese people. The question of Taiwan is a major question of principle that bears upon China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and the cause of national reunification. It falls entirely within China's internal affairs and brooks no outside interference whatsoever. The Chinese Government has no room for compromise on this question. It is the unswerving determination of the Chinese Government to safeguard its State sovereignty and territorial integrity."
If the Government of Guatemala was indeed sincere, treasured its peace process and acted to remove the obstacles, he said the Chinese delegation might reconsider the authorization of the deployment of military observers in Guatemala by the Security Council.
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