Colombia: Annan welcomes Government, rebel agreement to continue peace talks
A statement released late Monday in New York by Mr. Annan’s spokesman said the Secretary-General was “encouraged that this important development would 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-EP,” the statement said. “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.”
According to the statement, the Secretary-General reiterated his concern about the welfare of the civilian population in the zone and urged the two sides to conclude rapidly a humanitarian accord, as the events of the last week emphasized the need to take additional steps to protect civilian non-combatants.
The Secretary-General also thanked 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.