United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has arrived Tuesday in Bogotá to participate in the ceremonies marking the fifth anniversary of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC Guerrillas.
I have arrived in Colombia to mark the fifth anniversary of the Peace Agreement; an opportunity to renew our collective commitment to make its promise a reality and build stable and lasting peace, said Guterres on Twitter.
During his two-day visit, Guterres will meet with exFARC leaders and combatants, with victims, with Government officials as well as with members of civil society to monitor how things have evolved since the accord.
Guterres was welcomed at Bogotá's Eldorado Airport by Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez and Colombia's ambassador to the UN, Guillermo Fernández de Soto.
Joining Guterres at Wednesday's celebrations will be President Iván Duque, former President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC's last chief Rodrigo Londoño -also known for his war name: Timochenko.
Upon his arrival in Colombia, Guterres praised the local government's policy to protect Venezuelan migrants and highlighted the state's peace efforts.
“Solidarity with the Colombian people who today give the world an example of affirming peace. In a world where we see so many conflicts, it is very important to visit a country where peace is built,”Guterres pointed out.
Pay tribute to the government and the Colombian people for their enormous generosity with almost 2 million Venezuelans who remain in Colombia, he added.
This is Guterres' third visit as UN Secretary-General to Colombia and the second during Duque's presidency. He highlighted it was also his first post-covid international field visit.
The Portuguese diplomat insisted on highlighting Colombia as a global example for the peace commitments that it has been fulfilling, despite an upturn in violence in some parts and which has victims of ex-combatants and human rights activists.
Almost 13,000 men and women gave up the armed struggle, to rejoin civilian life under the supervision of the UN. Of that total, some 7,000 were combatants and they handed over their weapons to the observers of that organization, for their later smelting. Guterres' predecessor, South Korean Ban Ki-Moon, accompanied the agreement signed on November 24, 2016.
Guterres also regretted some 290 former FARC combatants have been killed so far by a group who rejected the peace accord and chose to stay in arms.
The UN Secretary-General will also meet with delegates from the special justice system established as per the peace agreement to try the worst crimes committed during the conflict.