Saturday, April 20, 2024

Score one for a triumph in OAS diplomacy

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LAST FRIDAY’S decision by foreign ministers of the Organization of American States (OAS) in support of the concept of “inviolability” of diplomatic premises, is to be welcomed by all nations committed to the rule of law and established democratic norms in resolving disputes.
By acclamation, OAS member states reinforced commitment to the provisions of the 1961 Vienna Convention On Diplomatic Relations in supporting the contention of Ecuador against any forceful intervention by British authorities to take custody of controversial WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
In our editorial last Tuesday on Taking Note Of UK/Ecuador Diplomatic Row, attention was drawn to the convention that offers guidance on “the rule of inviolability” in contrast to the British government’s earlier allusion to the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act of 1987 that could potentially facilitate lifting of the diplomatic status of the Ecuadorian embassy.
There has been the general feeling, reinforced by Assange’s contention, that Britain’s bid to have him extradited to Sweden for questioning on sex assault allegations, is a prelude to have him extradited to the United States where he is wanted for illegally releasing massive confidential diplomatic cables on the worldwide web.
It was, therefore, not surprising when the United States State Department opted to signal reservations over the OAS involvement in the UK/Ecuador diplomatic dispute deeming it to be a “bilateral matter”.
Firm rejection of such a notion was, however, established in the full endorsement that eventually came – with some changes in text and posturing – at the OAS foreign ministers meeting.
As triumphantly announced in an OAS Press statement at the weekend, the foreign ministers adopted a six-point resolution in support of the “inviolability of diplomatic premises” in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention “in the context of the situation between Ecuador and the United Kingdom”.
All Caribbean Community (CARICOM) members represented at the OAS, including Barbados, were part of the endorsement of that resolution.
And, understandably, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza was only too happy to observe: “It was a very positive meeting, with a successful outcome; no one was excluded, everyone spoke, including the representative of the United Kingdom.”
It is, therefore, good to score one for a diplomatic triumph at the level of the OAS.

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