SECRETARY-GENERAL CONGRATULATES COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT, REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCES COMMANDER,
NEW YORK, 21 January (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General congratulates the Government of Colombia, President Andres Pastrana Arango, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP), led by commander Manuel Marulanda, for the accord they signed on 20 January 2002. This accord establishes a promising roadmap for peace talks in Colombia, as it provides for the negotiation of a ceasefire, an end to hostilities, and ways to stop the violence by all sides, including by the paramilitary.
The Secretary-General has stated repeatedly that there is no military solution to Colombia’s 40-year conflict. Therefore, he is particularly encouraged that despite extreme pressure, both parties showed wisdom and agreed on a new way forward for the country.
The Secretary-General considers that only negotiated and verifiable accords can address the social and political causes of the conflict. It is now essential that the parties take further steps to rebuild confidence and reduce the suffering of the civilian population through the adoption of a humanitarian accord.
The Secretary-General again would like to thank regional leaders, the ten facilitating countries and the Catholic Church for the invaluable support that they have extended to his good offices and to his Acting Special Adviser, James LeMoyne, who will continue his facilitation efforts at the request of the parties.
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