The Mexican Head of State, President Luis Echeverria speaking at the United Nations Law of the Sea conference in Caracas on Friday (July 26) attacked the old principle of freedom of the seas which gave the freedom to exploit in an unrestricted and even abusive way.
GV EXT. United Nations Secretariat
GV President Echeverria enters to the applause of other delegates
CU U.N. Emblem
GV & CU Echeverria speaking in Spanish while delegates listen, and delegates applaud
"The developing states that today aspire to fully exploit the resources of the sea near their shores find themselves in some cases prevented from doing so by the existence of obstacles and situations protected by the principle of freedom of the seas as it is understood in its traditional form, that is to say, the freedom to exploit in an unrestricted and even ??? way the resources of the sea.
The freedom of fishing is favourable defacto to the great powers to the detriment of the smaller.
.....the creation of a new form of colonialism in favour of countries of greater technological and financial resources has made the riches of the sea a juicy enterprise for few. Mexico will contribute in the fight for a just result".
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Here is a translation of President Echeverria's speech in Spanish on film.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Mexican Head of State, President Luis Echeverria speaking at the United Nations Law of the Sea conference in Caracas on Friday (July 26) attacked the old principle of freedom of the seas which gave the freedom to exploit in an unrestricted and even abusive way.
He told delegates from 148 nations, in the Venezuelan capital, that Mexico would contribute to the fight for a just result.
The aim of the 10-week conference is in effect to write a new set of binding rules governing human activities in the two thirds of the earth's area covered by oceans.
But as the conference enters its second half, many delegates confess their vision of a shining new international sea law convention is dimming.
One western delegate declared: "Unfortunately there's little progress to be seen. There is going to be no formal agreement by the time the Caracas meeting ends, probably not even on general basic issues".
A major split is developing between the major maritime powers, the United States, Soviet Union, Japan, Britain and other Western European stats, and many of the developing nations, particularly these of Latin America and Africa.
Groups of Third World countries are urging that a general statement of principles to be known as the "caracas Declaration" should be drawn up before August 29, when the conference is due to end. A senior member of a Western maritime power said that if such a declaration was driven through without solid progress in the next five weeks it would be "fatal" to any hope of an eventual global sea law treaty.
The fears are that a vague general declaration would result in some countries using its vagueness as a pretext to establish their own exclusive 200 mile (320 kms) economic zones.
There has been little or no agreements on any of the more than 90 items under discussion in Caracas.