Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 09:34:33 -0500
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/** reg.guatemala: 165.0 **/
/* Written 5:31 PM May 9, 1996 by peg:unic in igc:unic.news */
Agreement on agrarian situation in Guatemala, signed at ceremony in Mexico City
Press Release SG/SM/5979 CA/120, 6 May 1996
This information is provided by the United Nations Information Centre in Sydney for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Secretary-General Calls for Funds to Support Ongoing United Nations Efforts to Consolidate Peace Process
This statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali:
At 10 a.m. today, Mexico time, the Presidential Peace Commission of the Government of Guatemala and the General Command of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) signed the Agreement on Social and Economic Aspects and Agrarian Situation. The signing ceremony took place at the Foreign Ministry of Mexico in Mexico City.
The Agreement was signed on behalf of United Nations by Under- SecretaryGeneral for Political Affairs Marrack Goulding and United Nations Moderator Jean Arnault. Also present were Foreign Minister Angel Gurria of Mexico, senior officials of the United Nations, and countries belonging to the Group of Friends of the Guatemalan Peace Process (Colombia, Mexico, Norway, Spain, United States and Venezuela), as well as representatives of the Guatemalan Assembly of Civil Society.
The negotiations on social and economic aspects and agrarian situation, which began a year ago, have yielded a comprehensive package of commitments on several issues critical to the building of a lasting peace in Guatemala. Based on a shared perception that conflict resolution is inseparable from significant change in social and economic policy, the parties have agreed on measures to permit wider participation in decision-making at all levels; to increase and redirect government spending towards social development; to promote a more efficient and equitable agrarian structure; to modernize public administration; and to produce a sustained increase in public revenue. At the heart of the strategies outlined in the Agreement is the concept, consistent with the thinking of the United Nations, that enhanced social participation in policy-making is key both to improved social justice and to sustainable economic growth. As indicated by the positions taken by the Assembly of Civil Society and other sectors in Guatemala, the Agreement reflects an agenda of social and economic change widely supported in Guatemala.
With the Agreement signed today, the peace process in Guatemala is gathering new momentum. The cessation of offensive military action declared by both parties in March has held. The suspension, as of today, of the practice of the "war tax" by the URNG will broaden support for the peace process within Guatemala. Advances in the negotiations will, in turn, facilitate the difficult struggle against impunity to which the Government of President Arzu is committed. Better prospects for an early
peace will also greatly enhance the impact and effectiveness of the verifying and institutionbuilding activities of the United Nations Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA).
The Secretary-General congratulates the parties on their achievements and encourages them to build upon these positive developments as they begin consideration of the next item on the negotiations agenda, namely "Strengthening civilian power and the role of the army in a democratic society".
The Agreement will enter into force with the signing of the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace, which is to culminate the process of negotiations under United Nations auspices since January 1994. At the request of the parties, and subject to the United Nations authorization, MINUGUA would expand its activities to cover verification of all agreements reached. While the scope and depth of the agreements will make verification a particularly complex task, experience has shown that the nationwide and active presence of MINUGUA is a key factor in the broad process of building peace and consolidating democracy in Guatemala. The Secretary-General calls upon Member States to ensure that, as its mandate expands, the Mission will receive the funds it needs, to continue to make its critical contribution to the peace process.