Visiting U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon lauds Costa Rica as a model of peace

Upon his much-anticipated arrival Wednesday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Costa Rica a model for peace that the world could look to during times of widespread turmoil. Alluding to a number of current global conflicts, principally the unending violence in Gaza, Ban said the small country’s commitment to non-violence is inspiring.

“You have been successful at keeping peace without an army, and other member states can learn from this,” Ban said. After meeting President Luis Guillermo Solís at Juan Santamaría airport Wednesday morning, the two discussed a variety of pertinent domestic and international themes. Ban said the two discussed climate change, the U.N.’s Millenium Development Goals, and child migration in Central America.

Solís accompanied Ban as he addressed the Inter-American Human Rights Court in San José with a short speech entitled “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st century.”

Costa Rica will soon be up for re-election on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, and national leaders have routinely expressed their desire to remain a part of the board.

Following an hour-long conversation with Foreign Minister Manuel González Sanz, the secretary general met with local reporters at Casa Amarilla for a brief interview. Among other national topics, Ban was asked about Costa Rica’s conflict with Nicaragua, where he just visited before coming here. Though he said he couldn’t directly comment on the matter, he said the land feud was being worked out in the U.N.’s International Court of Justice.

Ban also spoke about the vicious war between Israel and Palestine that continues to ravage Gaza and its people. After a shelter for Gaza children was bombed by Israel early Wednesday, Ban said that this

Protesters say they want the U.N. to blockade Israel.

Protesters say they want the U.N. to blockade Israel.

was an issue of humanity and that humanity could not go on like this.

“Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children,” Ban said.

Earlier in the day President Solís made an official proclamation to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. He said Costa Rica was working with the U.N. to find any solution possible in stopping this nightmarish violence.

“Again I want to express the repudiation and strong condemnation of Costa Rica towards violence, especially that which causes so much harm to innocent civilians,” Solís said. “We demand, under the United Nations, that there is an immediate ceasefire that would allow a stop to this bloodbath which so offends humanity.”

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