The Elders respect the decision of the Colombian people who have voted not to accept the peace agreement negotiated between the government and the FARC guerrilla movement.
However, they are reassured by the statements from all sides reaffirming the ceasefire and rejecting a return to violence. The quest for a solution to this decades-long conflict must continue. The Elders urge Colombian leaders to find compromises which will allow all Colombians to unite behind peace as a national project.
Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said: “When I was in Cartagena last week, I saw a country on the verge of peace. That opportunity is not lost but simply postponed. I urge the people and leaders of Colombia to keep the momentum for peace moving forward. I am convinced that peace can be achieved.”
Ernesto Zedillo, Elder and former President of Mexico, who also participated in the Cartagena peace signing ceremony, added: "The Colombian people want and need peace to build the prosperity with social justice and security that their great nation deserves. The document signed on September 26 provides a sound basis for a definitive agreement that is embraced by all Colombians; but wisdom, patience, tolerance and generosity from all parties, including from those who led the “No” campaign, will be needed. The international community must continue giving its unwavering support to President Santos and all Colombians to persevere until a definitive settlement is achieved."