January 3, 1992
In this season, in which Christians the world over commemorate the birth of the Prince of Peace, we have special cause today to thank God for the peace that is now clearly in sight in the land that bears His name, El Salvador. After more than eleven years of fratricidal warfare with its scores of thousands dead and hundreds of thousands uprooted from their homes, the leaders of both the government and of the guerrillas have now reached agreement to bring a speedy end to the war.
We welcome the courage and flexibility shown by President Cristiani and his government and by the leaders of the guerrilla forces, especially in this past year, in forging the long-delayed peace. We are especially grateful for the extraordinary efforts put forth by the out-going Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, and his personal representative for the negotiations, Mr. Alvaro de Soto, whose persistence and determination have clearly made a difference.
It is also gratifying to note that, despite past differences we have had with aspects of our own governments policy toward El Salvador, the role played by Assistant Secretary of State Bernard Aronson and United Nations Ambassador Thomas Pickering in furthering the peace process has apparently been significant. We thank them and all others who have contributed to the successful conclusion of the negotiations.
For more than a decade, the Church in El Salvador, especially through the leadership of its Archbishop, Arturo Rivera Damas, has urged both sides to replace violence and war with dialogue and negotiations. This agreement is in significant measure a tribute to their insistent appeals for peace. We renew our expression of support for and solidarity with the bishops of El Salvador and the whole People of God of that land so wounded by war.
This year just past, 1991, has been one of momentous change in almost all parts of the globe. It is particularly heartening to know that 1992 will usher in a new beginning for the building of peace, and we pray that the years of war and violence will at long last give way to true peace, justice, and reconciliation in El Salvador.