The government of Colombia announced that it has agreed to start peace talks with the FARC, the hemisphere’s oldest insurgent group.
The government of Colombia announced that it has agreed to start peace talks with the FARC, the hemisphere’s oldest insurgent group. President Barack Obama welcomed the announcement, noting that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ administration “has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to seeking a durable peace and ensuring a better life for all Colombians through its security and social inclusion policies.”
The Colombian government’s conclusion of this framework for negotiations sets the stage for talks that hold out the promise of ending the 50-year conflict with the FARC, to permit all Colombians to live with greater peace, security, and prosperity.
President Obama recognized President Santos’ commitment to working for peace and the courage and sacrifice of successive Colombian governments – and most especially of the Colombian people – in achieving this milestone. The FARC, said President Obama, “should now take this opportunity to end its decades of terrorism and narcotics trafficking, and allow the Colombian people to continue building a democratic, prosperous, and just society.”
According to the terms worked out between the Colombian government and the FARC, over the next six months the negotiations will focus on forging agreements on five broad areas, including land reform, reintegration, combating drug trafficking, and addressing victim issues.
President Santos said also peace is now possible because Colombia’s economy has prospered, giving all Colombians access to a better future in which violence is not tolerated as an appropriate mechanism for seeking political change. Moreover, thanks to the increasing effectiveness and professionalism of the Colombian armed forces and the commitment and sacrifice of the Colombian people, FARC fighting strength has been cut in half over the last decade.
As Colombia works toward a resolution to the conflict, the United States reaffirms its longstanding partnership with Colombia and its commitment to work with Colombia to promote citizen security, respect for human rights, and economic prosperity.