Colombians are bidding farewell to decades of war, Ban stated. Photo: Revista Semana

CARTAGENA DE INDIAS, Colombia.— The signing of the peace agreement between the government of Colombia and the FARC-EP guarantees peace and a future in which everyone can participate in politics, stated the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon.

Speaking in Cartagena de Indias, Ban expressed his hope that Colombians make this peace process a national project, and said it was an honor for the international community to participate in this effort.

The UN Secretary-General stressed that there would no longer be “room for violence in politics” in Colombia.

He added that thanks to this process, Colombia “can look ahead with optimism,” and that it represented an invitation to the Colombian people in “turning the page to a future in peace.”

Ban assured that the United Nations he leads would continue to monitor the problems that persist in the country and invited all parties to welcome the contributions of all those who form part of this “diverse and vibrant nation.”

“This is how healing begins,” he said, and noted that “The challenge now is to convert the vision that was so carefully crafted in Havana into transformative change here in Colombia.”

Referring to the UN Mission in Colombia, he explained that this is tasked with the verification of the ceasefire and the laying down of arms, and enjoys the full support of the United Nations.

The Secretary-General recognized the invaluable contribution of Cuba and Norway as guarantors of the process, as well as Chile and Venezuela in their role as accompanying countries.

He noted that other countries are already studying the peace process in Colombia as an example of what could be implemented in their own territories.

Ban encouraged the Colombian government and the FARC-EP to remain committed to the agreements, as well as the participation of women, youth, civil society, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities.

He ended by stating, “Today, Colombians are bidding farewell to decades of flames, and sending up a bright flare of hope that illuminates the entire world.”

“¡Viva la Paz!¡Viva Colombia!” Ban concluded.