11:22. Lima, Apr. 20.
The Chavin de Huantar commandos and MRTA hostages held at Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima were key actors of peace, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski affirmed in a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the rescue operation.
The Peruvian leader noted the Chavin de Huantar operation was quite a heroic deed that "hammered the last nail on terrorism's coffin."
"The important thing to be observed is not only the fact of having rescued 72 hostages but having rescued the entire Peru," Mr. Kuczynski expressed as he stressed the commandos' great sacrifices for the country.
He said Alberto Fujimori's government did an outstanding job in preparing the Chavin de Huantar operation.
"That was quite an important gesture; that explains yesterday's gathering at the Government Palace and our presence here today. Peru needs peace; however, peace is not achieved by making statements, but through gestures. You and the hostages represented by Admiral [Luis] Giamprietri have been highly important actors," he added.
The 78-year-old statesman stressed the need to turn the page and explained there will always be trouble.
He went on to highlight the exemplary role of Armed Forces, police and firefighters amid "Coastal El Niño" landslides and floods affecting the country.
"New challenges will emerge, but I am sure Armed Forces' discipline and organization will help us overcome them. Congratulations. Long live Chavin de Huantar! Long live Peru!" he stated.
Attendees included Judiciary's head Duberli Rodriguez, Defense Minister Jorge Nieto, Justice Minister Maria Soledad Perez Tello, former hostages, and Fuerza Popular party leader Keiko Fujimori, whom the President greeted.
The act took place at the replica of Japanese ambassador's residence located at Las Palmas Air Base in the capital city, Lima.
During the ceremony, the Grand Cross Order for Bravery in the Grade of Honor was awarded to the commandos, as well as relatives of Colonel Juan Valer and Captain Raul Jimenez. Both of them died while rescuing the hostages.