SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT
NEW YORK, 27 June (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that it will release more than 250 soldiers and policemen tomorrow. Some of these troops have been held hostage for up to three years during which both they and their families have suffered a painful separation.
The Secretary-General, however, remains concerned by the increasing violence affecting the unarmed civilian population and by threats that fighting could spread further into urban areas. He hopes that the release of imprisoned troops will be a step towards greater confidence and concrete agreements in ongoing peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the FARC.
In particular, the Secretary-General wishes to underscore the international community's call to the parties, as a matter of priority, to conclude agreements on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
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