OAS rejects Colombian military incursion in EcuadorMarch 18th, 2008 - 2:30 pm ICT by admin
Washington, March 18 (DPA) The Organization of American States (OAS) has rejected Colombia’s military strike against the country’s largest leftist rebel group in Ecuadorian territory, unanimously adopting a resolution early Tuesday. Colombia supported the resolution after Ecuador and other OAS members reaffirmed their commitment to fighting “irregular groups” and “criminal organizations” like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has waged a civil war in Colombia for decades.
The United States expressed reservations about the resolution because it did not recognize Colombia’s right to self-defence but decided to back the measure at the request of the Colombian government.
The resolution said the strike violated Ecuador’s territorial integrity.
“It’s a complete success for Colombia,” Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo said.
“It’s a victory for Ecuador,” Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Isabel Salvador said.
Senior officials - mostly foreign ministers - of the 34-nation OAS met to hammer out a resolution to end the crisis that arose after the March 1 attack against FARC camp in Ecuador. The assault killed the militia’s second-in-command, Raul Reyes, and about 20 other Marxist rebels.
Colombia had already acknowledged that it violated Ecuadorian territory in the strike, but wanted Ecuador to explicitly reaffirm a commitment to fighting terrorism in the resolution. Ecuador wanted a stronger condemnation of the strike. The two sides eventually compromised.
Earlier at the meeting, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said Colombia’s military strike against FARC was justified.
“We believe they were acting in a justifiable way,” Negroponte told DPA.
The strike initially prompted worries that Colombia and Ecuador were headed toward a military conflict.
Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua quickly cut diplomatic ties with Colombia.
Venezuela, which believes FARC should be recognized as a political entity, sided with Ecuador and both countries mobilized troops along the border with Colombia.
Tension eased after a Latin American summit in the Dominican Republic on March 7.
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