Colombia: Annan calls for release of kidnapped persons and renewed dialogue

17 December 2003
Kofi Annan

As the holiday season approaches, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on the parties in Colombia's long-running civil conflict to release any civilians they have kidnapped and renew dialogue towards ending the violence.

"I urge that steps be taken to nurture reconciliation, respect for human rights and international humanitarian law," Mr. Annan said in a statement released by his spokesman in New York.

The Secretary-General urged the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) to free "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."

Mr. Annan said dialogue between the parties should be re-established in a bid to end the violent civil conflict that has plagued Colombia for four decades.


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