U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Central America, Guatemala, This Week in Latin America

Ban Ki-moon Meets With Central American Leaders To Discuss Regional Security

March 17, 2011 By Staff

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised to support Central America in its fight against insecurity and violence during a meeting with regional leaders in Guatemala.

“Organized crime is an international phenomenon that requires a regional response,” Ban said, according to The BBC. The UN Secretary-General also extended the mandate of the UN Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG, for two more years.

The meeting with the UN secretary-general was attended by presidents Álvaro Colom of Guatemala, Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica and Porfirio Lobo of Honduras. Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow and representatives of El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Panama were also in attendance.

Ban expressed thanks for Guatemala’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Côte d’Ivoire. He also praised also praised Guatemalan, Edmond Mulet, the UN Special Representative in Haiti, during a press conference with President Colom.

Central American security was a major issue discussed by Ban,  especially in Guatemala where there is concern about the rising influence of Mexican drugs cartels.

“We have to foster security for all Guatemalans and their children. I am sure the people of Guatemala agree they did not end 36 years of armed conflict only to see violence take other forms. Now it is time to end all violence,” Ban said, according to The UN News Centre.

In 2006, Guatemala and the UN set up the CICIG, which currently investigates the existence of illicit security forces and clandestine security organizations and identifying their structures, activities, modus operandi and financing sources.

“I expressed the UN’s strong support for CICIG and Commissioner Francisco Dall’Anese,” Ban said, according to The UN News Centre.

Besides meeting with regional leaders, the Secretary-General also met with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú.

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Southern Cone

Image: World Economic Forum @ Flickr.

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