World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday expressed his full support for the peace process in the South American country Colombia.
“I want to reaffirm here the full commitment of the United Nations in supporting the Colombian government in this project of enormous importance, to build peace but at the same time to build an inclusive democracy, capable of ensuring that the entire national territory benefits from development,” Antonio Guterres told a press conference in the Colombian capital Bogota.
The U.N. chief’s remarks came minutes after he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during his first official meeting in the county to support peace efforts.
In 2016, Colombia reached a historic peace deal with what was the country’s largest armed guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
However, President Santos suspended peace talks with another rebel group National Liberation Army (ELN) after their attacks killed one soldier and wounded two others.
The cease-fire between the government and the ELN had been in place for 101 days but expired earlier this year with both sides voicing a desire to negotiate a further truce.
The ELN that was formed in 1964 is Colombia’s remaining guerrilla group with less than 2,000 combatants.
President Santos reiterated his government’s determination on the peace process.
“It is a process, we are the first to recognize the challenges that we are facing, the most important has to do with the issue of security in rural areas, which suffered so long in the armed conflict,” Santos said.
“As I always say, peace is like a cathedral and must be built brick by brick,” he added.
Climate change, the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela were also among the topics discussed during the meeting.
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Ahead of the Helsinki meeting, here is a selection of remarks the two world leaders have made about each other.