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SG/SM/5934

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS SUSPENSION OF MILITARY OPERATIONS IN GUATEMALA SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD IN PEACE PROCESS

21 March 1996


Press Release
SG/SM/5934
CA/118


SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS SUSPENSION OF MILITARY OPERATIONS IN GUATEMALA SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD IN PEACE PROCESS

19960321 The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary- General Boutros Boutros-Ghali:

The Secretary-General has learned with great satisfaction of the announcement yesterday by the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) that, as a contribution to progress in the peace process, it was suspending temporarily offensive military operations and of the response of President Alvaro Arzu, who is issuing instructions to the Army to cease counter-insurgency operations.

These are very positive developments which will alleviate the suffering of the civilian population, a goal to which both parties are committed under the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights signed in March 1994. They will no doubt build further the sense of mutual confidence that has characterized the relationship between the Government of President Artzu and the URNG, and create a climate conducive to democratic changes and the conclusion of a just settlement of the armed confrontation. They will also contribute greatly to strengthening confidence in the peace process among the Guatemalan people and in the international community at large.

As stressed in the latest report of the Secretary-General on the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA), measures recently taken by the Government of Guatemala and the URNG have led to a strengthening of the rule law and a gradual demilitarization of political life in that country. The decisions announced yesterday by the URNG and the Government are praiseworthy new steps in that direction.

The Government of Guatemala and the URNG are currently engaged in complex negotiations on social and economic issues. Both parties agree that a broad agenda of social and economic progress is a necessary component of a lasting peace. On that basis, conditions exist to bring the negotiations on that important issue to a fruitful conclusion. The Secretary-General will continue to do his utmost to facilitate that process and hopes that the round of negotiations to be held next week in Mexico City will bring concrete results in that respect.

- 2 - Press Release SG/SM/5934 CA/118 21 March 1996

The Secretary-General congratulates the parties on the significant step forward they have taken and reiterates his invitation to the international community to increase its support for the Guatemala peace process and, in particular, its support for MINUGUA whose activities are, in the view of both parties, critical to the success of that historic endeavour.

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For information media. Not an official record.