SECRETARY-GENERAL STRONGLY DEPLORES ABDUCTION OF FORMER COLOMBIAN OFFICIAL, DEMANDS
NEW YORK, 16 July (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
Mr. Alan Jara Urzola, former Governor of the Colombian Department of Meta, was abducted while riding in an official United Nations vehicle with the UN Resident Coordinator in Colombia yesterday, 15 July 2001. The former Governor along with UN personnel were present at a ceremony marking the inauguration of the bridge of Reconciliation in the village of Lejanías, in the southern Department of Meta, near the Demilitarised Zone established for peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC. The United Nations vehicle was clearly identified with diplomatic plates and was stopped at a checkpoint by armed individuals who identified themselves as FARC guerrillas.
The Secretary-General strongly deplores the abduction of Mr. Jara and extends his deepest sympathies to his family. He protests the forceful entry into a United Nations vehicle and demands that the FARC release Mr. Jara immediately. The Secretary-General underlines that this type of violation of UN personnel and its vehicles jeopardizes the ability of the Organization to carry out its duties in Colombia.
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