Venezuela's talks with opposition criticized by Colombia´s Duque in UN address

Ivan Duque addressed General Assembly on Venezuela, peace process with FARC, COVID vaccines, climate change

Laura Gamba   | 21.09.2021
Venezuela's talks with opposition criticized by Colombia´s Duque in UN address Ivan Duque Marquez, President of Colombia, addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, the United States on September 21, 2021. ( Tayfun Coşkun - Anadolu Agency )

BOGOTA, Colombia

Colombian President Ivan Duque focused on Venezuelan migration, the peace process with FARC guerrillas, equitable access to coronavirus vaccines, and climate change during his in-person address at the UN General Assembly meeting on Tuesday.

Duque lashed out at negotiations between Venezuela and the opposition in Mexico.

"The only possible effective outcome of this meeting is the calling of a free presidential election," he said.

He stressed that Colombia faces "the worst migratory crisis hitting the planet: millions of Venezuelans fleeing the dictatorship and infamy” and highlighted that Colombia took on the challenge of providing temporary protection status to the more than 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants living in the country.

Duque criticized the 2016 peace agreement with the nation’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), negotiated by former President Juan Manuel Santos. He stressed that Colombia remains committed to battling drug trafficking.

“Even the effects of this cruel COVID-19 pandemic have not deterred us from our commitment to comply with a country that wants to see an end to narco-terrorist violence. The weak peace agreement signed in 2016 with the FARC terrorist group has made significant progress in the reincorporation process of ex-combatants, as the UN Observation Mission has verified," he said.

He also tackled the global vaccine divide and said "the existing gaps between nations with respect to the vaccination process are unprecedented".

"While some nations acquire a number of additional doses for six or seven times their population and announce third booster doses, others have not applied a single dose," he said.

In his last speech as president, Duque highlighted his government’s efforts at environmental protection and in the fight against climate change. ​​​​​​​

Duque arrived Sunday in the US seeking to strengthen ties with its main international partner.

To date, US President Joe Biden has not met with Duque after members of his party were accused of supporting the campaign of former President Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election.

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