The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, met today with President Alvaro Uribe Velez of Colombia and pledged the UN's commitment to reconciliation, humanitarian efforts and human rights in the country.
During their talks, the two discussed the overall situation in Colombia as well as the Secretary-General's continuing good offices in support of the search for a negotiated solution to the country's longstanding conflict, according to a spokesman for Mr. Annan.
Afterwards, in his address to the annual high-level debate of the UN General Assembly, President Uribe appealed to the international community to help Colombia put an end to the continuing violence that has plagued the country for decades.
"The world has plenty of analysts of Colombian problems, and of critics of our society and our governments. We require less rhetoric and more action - real contributions to solve the problem," he said. "Representatives of the peoples of the world: with your commitment and support, and our determination, Colombia will be freed from the slavery of violence and permit more justice for all."
Mr. Uribe said that he was committed to observe and respect human rights rigorously, because, while a failure to do so might lead to a reduction in violence, it would never bring reconciliation. He warned, however, that the problem of Colombia was a potential risk to the democratic stability of the region.
"I ask the help of the world because my government made the decision of defeating terror, and ensuring that these four years do not elapse with a new triumph of delinquency, or as a new test to the State's and society's hesitation toward the arrogance [of the perpetrators of violence]," he said.