Press Releases

    SG/SM/8099
    16 January 2002

    SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES AGREEMENT IN
    COLOMBIA; URGES SUBSTANTIVE PROGRESS,
    GREATER CIVILIAN PROTECTION

    NEW YORK, 15 January (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued on Monday, 14 January, by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General welcomes the news that the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have reached an agreement allowing for peace talks to continue. The Secretary-General is encouraged that this important development will lead to resumption of the talks, which he considers the only viable means for solving the conflict in Colombia.

    President Pastrana and his Government are to be congratulated for demonstrating their commitment to keeping the peace talks alive, as are Commander Marulanda and the FARC. The Secretary-General urges the parties to maintain the momentum generated over the past 48 hours, with a view to making substantive progress toward a peaceful settlement.

    The Secretary-General wishes to reiterate his concern about the welfare of the civilian population in the zone and urges them to conclude rapidly a humanitarian accord. The events of the last week serve to emphasize the need to take additional steps to protect civilian non-combatants.

    The Secretary-General would like to thank regional leaders, the ten facilitating countries and the Catholic Church for the indispensable support that they have extended to his good offices and to his Acting Special Adviser, James LeMoyne.

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