16 January 2017

El Salvador’s ‘Historic’ Rejection of Violence, Embracing Dialogue, Inspired World, Says Secretary-General in Message for Peace Accords Milestone

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message, delivered by Miroslav Jenca, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Salvadorian Peace Accords, in New York today:

I offer my warmest congratulations to the Government and people of El Salvador on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Peace Accords.  A quarter century ago, Salvadorian leaders had the courage to place the well-being of the Salvadorian people above partisan interests.  You resolved to look towards the future, overcoming profound differences and wounds, to set down the bases for a more prosperous and peaceful society.  The world was inspired by your historic decision to reject violence and address differences through dialogue.

Your peacemaking and peacebuilding experience left a lasting impression on the United Nations.  The United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador taught us that peacebuilding must place human rights at the centre of all our work.  Your commitment and efforts to achieve peace remain an example for the world as we cope with increasingly complex and interlinked conflicts marked by horrific violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.

Now is a moment to reflect on the past and confront present challenges.  Today, too many Salvadorians struggle to make a decent living, suffer violence and are forced to flee their communities, leaving broken families behind.  Violence, lingering inequality and lack of opportunities prevent Salvadorians from fully reaping the dividends of peace.  In many instances, political divisions block the necessary agreements to advance the common good and achieve true reconciliation.  Transparent and inclusive dialogue, mutual respect and joint efforts are key to overcoming today’s challenges, not only in El Salvador but throughout the world.

Today, once again, El Salvador is breaking ground, embarking on an innovative process and inviting the United Nations to assist. In May of last year, the Government of El Salvador sought the Secretary-General’s good offices to facilitate dialogue among Salvadorians and reach agreements on key challenges facing the country.  Building on the long-standing history of cooperation between the United Nations and El Salvador, the dialogue we are ushering in today will renew this bond.

Twenty-five years ago, many of you sitting here took on the historic responsibility to seek peace and build a better future.  I trust that leaders of political parties and civil society will once again put the interest of the country first and advance towards the consolidation of a more just and inclusive society, where all citizens reap the dividends of peace and sustainable development.  This will again inspire the world.

I look forward to continuing our fruitful cooperation to uphold the three pillars of the United Nations — peace and security, human rights and sustainable development — in El Salvador, the region and the world.

For information media. Not an official record.