4 October 2016

Activities of Secretary-General in Colombia, 26-27 September

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon departed New York in the early hours of Monday, 26 September, for Cartagena, Colombia, where he arrived on Monday morning, after transiting through Bogota, for the signing of the Colombia Peace Agreements.  Soon after arriving in Cartagena, the Secretary-General met with his Special Representative, Jean Arnault, and his team.  The Secretary-General was briefed on the United Nations support for the Colombian peace process.

At midday, the Secretary-General joined President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón and other dignitaries invited to Cartagena at a mass at the San Pedro Claver Church.

Mr. Ban then joined the other guests at a lunch hosted by the President at the “Casa del Marques de Valdehoyos”, the Chancellery Guest House.

He then held a meeting with President Santos Calderón, during which he pledged the United Nations support for the peace process.

In the afternoon, at the Cartagena de Indias Convention Centre, the Secretary-General attended the signing of the Colombia Peace Agreements.  He said that the Agreements promise not only to stop the armed conflict, but to create the conditions for lasting peace based on equitable development, human rights and inclusion.  He stressed that victims have been among the most forceful voices for peace and reconciliation, and against bitterness and hatred.

The divisions and distrust from decades of conflict run deep, he warned, hoping that the Colombian people can overcome the pain, join together and make this a truly national project.  The Secretary-General pledged the United Nations’ support to peace, both through the United Nations mission in Colombia and the larger United Nations system in the country.

The challenge now is to convert the vision that was so carefully crafted in Havana into transformative change in Colombia, especially in some of the most remote and historically neglected regions of the country.  (See Press Release SG/SM/18155.)

Immediately after the ceremony, the Secretary-General met with Timoleon Jimenez, “Timochenko” Commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People’s Army (FARC).  During that meeting he again stressed that the United Nations, through its mission in Colombia, would be supportive of the peace process.

Speaking to the press after the ceremony, the Secretary-General also said that Colombia’s ability to end its protracted conflict has inspired the world and reiterated that the United Nations is proud and committed to accompany Colombia on this historic journey.

He arrived back in New York early on Tuesday morning, 27 September.

For information media. Not an official record.