UN chief celebrates CELAC39s peace efforts and calls for Haiti

UN chief celebrates CELAC's peace efforts and calls for Haiti

Kingstown (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) (AFP) – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday celebrated the “commitment to seek peaceful solutions” of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), citing tensions between Venezuela and Guyana and the negotiations in Colombia, while at the same time calling for greater efforts for Haiti.

First change: March 1, 2024 – 3:50 p.m. Last change: March 1, 2024 – 3:49 p.m

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Guterres attended the CELAC summit, which brought together left-wing presidents such as Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Colombia's Gustavo Petro, Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro and Cuba's Miguel Díaz-Canel in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Countries ruled by the right sent lower-level representatives, such as Ecuador, represented by its ambassador in San Salvador.

“Latin America and the Caribbean have shown that unity for peace is possible and makes a difference,” Guterres said in his speech to the plenary session.

“The peace process in Colombia has made significant progress with the invaluable contribution of the CELAC countries,” he continued, referring to Petro's comprehensive peace policy that maintains negotiations with armed groups.

The UN chief also highlighted “the Joint Declaration for Dialogue and Peace between Guyana and Venezuela,” which addressed the sovereignty of the oil-rich Essequibo Territory and which raised fears of armed conflict in the region last December.

Maduro and his Guyanese counterpart Irfaan Ali pledged not to use force or escalate tensions in a process mediated by CELAC. “It is another example of the region's commitment to seeking peaceful solutions and I commend their efforts,” emphasized the minister.

Guterres warned of violence in Ecuador and Haiti, where “the already serious situation is getting worse every day.”

“Gangs are holding the country hostage and using sexual violence as a weapon. At the same time, the UN humanitarian response plan for Haiti needs strong financial support.”

Upon his arrival in Kingstown on Thursday, Guterres stressed the importance of a “political solution” in Haiti.

The official called for increased efforts to combat climate change and hunger in the region and warned of the rise of “authoritarianism and extremism.”