United Nations conflict resolution attempts in Central America, with the OAS
By Elise Boulding
This Article Summary written by: Tanya Glaser, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: Elise Boulding, New Agendas for Peace Research. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1992, pp. 199
During the early 1990s the United Nations (UN) cooperated with the Organization of American States (OAS) to end violent conflict in Central America. On their own initiative, regional members of the OAS agreed to a general set of intermediate goals on the path to peace in the region. Under the skillful leadership of Costa Rican President Arias, the member nations were able to maintain enough mutual trust and goodwill to begin implementing peacekeeping measures.
UN organizations, in cooperation with the OAS, were to assist in and monitor the implementation of the agreement. UN forces patrolled the borders of Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador in order to detect or prevent illegal weapons trafficking. UN observers supervised Nicaraguan elections, and certified the results.
The UN Secretary-General played a crucial role in the successes of the OAS plan. First, the Secretary-General consulted and supervised the OAS plan and its implementation. The respect and prestige accorded the Secretary-General by the international community in turn lent credibility to the OAS activities. Second, OAS member states themselves trusted and respected the office of the UN Secretary-General. Nicaragua was willing to allow UN oversight of their elections. El Salvador appealed to the Secretary-General to make his good offices available to help resolve its growing civil political rifts.