SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR RENEWED DIALOGUE,
RELEASE OF KIDNAPPED CIVILIANS IN COLOMBIA
NEW YORK, 17 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is a statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the situation in Colombia:
During the upcoming holiday season and the period of reflection that it brings, I call upon the parties to the conflict to relieve the people of Colombia from the suffering that has plagued this country over the last four decades. I urge that steps be taken to nurture reconciliation, respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
The FARC and ELN should assist by releasing the innocent civilians, Colombian and foreign, they have kidnapped, so that families may be reunited during what should be a joyous time of the year.
It is also my hope that the parties will renew dialogue to establish negotiations toward ending this violent conflict, for this is the only route to a sustainable peace.
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