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H.E. Gustavo Petro
President of the Republic of Colombia
Casa de Nariño: Carrera 8 No. 7-26
Edificio Administrativo: Calle 7 No. 6-54
Código Postal 111711 Bogota

Geneva, 5 January 2023

Mr President,

At the beginning of this New Year, and having just taken on my position as General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), I write to convey to you the greetings of the worldwide ecumenical movement, and our hopes and prayers for a just and sustainable peace in Colombia.

Over many years the WCC has joined the people and churches of Colombia in their efforts for peace founded on justice, promoting and supporting dialogue as the only path to sustainable peace, and calling for full and effective implementation of the Peace Agreements between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP. Your own commitments as President – including for the resumption of negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) – are welcomed by the WCC as fresh signs of hope in a current global context in which hope and peace are more urgently needed than ever.

The 11th Assembly of the WCC – held in Karlsruhe, Germany, on 31 August-8 September 2022 – welcomed these signs of hope and called on the WCC and the entire international community “to reaffirm commitment and solidarity with the Colombian government, churches and people and to collaborate in the design, implementation, advocacy and funding for the construction of peace in the country.” Your announcement on 31 December 2022 of a bilateral ceasefire with five armed groups, including the ELN, strengthens this hope for the future. I take this opportunity to assure you of the WCC’s continuing and renewed commitment and solidarity, and of our support and accompaniment of the search for peace in Colombia.

We will be communicating with High Commissioner for Peace Danilo Rueda about ways in which that support and accompaniment might concretely be provided, but we will ensure that the WCC’s experience in peacebuilding over the 74 years of its history is put at the service of this important endeavor. Together with our member church the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, and our ecumenical partner organization DiPAZ – as well as with all our member churches and ecumenical partners around the world – we pray that each step towards peace will create an environment in which the longstanding injustices and grievances which have fed this conflict can be addressed peacefully and resolved sustainably.

May God grant you wisdom and strength for the heavy responsibilities of leadership at this pivotal moment in Colombia’s history.
Yours sincerely,

Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay
General Secretary
World Council of Churches

cc: Mr Danilo Rueda
High Commissioner for Peace