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President Gustavo Petro of Colombia, first South American president to address the Munich Security Conference

Updated: Mar 8

February 16, 2024

President urges attendees to accelerate efforts advancing peace and climate justice

President Gustavo Petro of Colombia addressed the Munich Security Conference, as the first South American president to speak at the annual event.

President Petro participated in a panel discussion, "A Global Order That Works For Everyone," alongside UN Secretary General António Guterres, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana, and Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados. The panel was moderated by Munich Security Conference Chairman Christoph Heusgen.

In his remarks, President Petro reaffirmed Colombia’s commitment to the program of Total Peace with all armed groups with an emphasis on social justice that addresses the root causes economic inequality. The President spoke shortly after Colombia's government and National Liberation Army (ELN) extended their ceasefire for six months.

“In a world where everyone talks about war, Colombia talks about peace,” said President Petro. “Colombia has been able to gradually pacify itself over the last 30 years.”

The President also addressed the symbolic import of the conference location as a venue for heads of state to grapple with the most challenging issues related to global security and human rights. With the UN Secretary General by his side, the President said, “The reality is that today we are at the point of extinction. That sensation of extinction can bring us to barbarity: 1933. We are seeing an indirect genocide, and we cannot do anything. Or maybe we are a part of it. That is not the final solution. That is the beginning, that all of us countries in the [Global] South can begin with it.”

President Petro also highlighted the importance of addressing the climate crisis and proposed the development of a democratic pact among countries of the Global South to transition toward cleaner energy and ensure a more equitable future.

Colombia is the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean an individual partnership and cooperation program with NATO, and President Petro’s engagements in Munich follow a period of intensive engagement with relevant counterparts to address shared challenges in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and the Middle East. In the fall of 2023, President Petro attended the inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Summit in Washington, which brought together regional leaders to coordinate on enhancing regional integration and economic sustainability throughout the Americas. President Petro also recently participated in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Economic Leaders’ Week in San Francisco – one of only four leaders of guest countries to the organization – at the invitation of U.S. President Joseph Biden.

1 Comment

Madden Wayne
Madden Wayne
May 13

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