3730th Meeting of Security Council: Situation in Guatemala - Part 1

Preview Language:   English
10-Jan-1997 01:12:47
Security Council fails to authorize deployment of UN military observers to verify implementation of cease-fire agreement in Guatemala at 3730th meeting.

Available Languages: Original, English, French, Spanish
Six Official
Other Formats
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.

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.

For further details please see source:

For further details please see official record:
Geographic Subjects
Physical Format
Aspect Ratio
Parent ID
Asset ID