U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the sixth round of the U.S.-Colombia High-Level Partnership Dialogue August 1. Through these dialogues the United States and Colombia have strengthened their cooperation as Colombia prepares to end the longest running civil conflict in the world.
Under President Barack Obama’s Peace Colombia plan, the United States has developed a strategy that will support the Colombian government’s efforts to provide security, strengthen the rule of law, protect human rights, and generate economic opportunities in areas that have been most negatively affected by the conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
“It is going to be crucial that those who have been victimized by the violence have a means of redress,” said Secretary Kerry, “and an assurance that those most responsible for abuses will be held accountable.”
At the same time, the United States and its partner Norway have launched the Global Demining Initiative for Colombia to help Colombia rid itself of land mines within five years. Last year in Colombia, 222 people, including 27 children, were killed or injured by land mines – a toll that is higher than any country in the world except Afghanistan.
Education was also a topic of discussion at the high-level dialogue. Colombia now ranks second in the Western Hemisphere as grant winners for the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grants.
Finally, the dialogue covered the subjects of democracy and good governance. The United States welcomes the steps that Colombia is taking to ensure that women are able to participate fully in economic and political life, and to defend and expand human rights and the role of civil society. “We continue to count on Colombia’s partnership in defending human rights at the Organization of American States and the United Nations,” said Secretary Kerry.
The United States welcomes the opportunity to work with Colombia to ensure that peace is finally achieved and prosperity and security are shared by all Colombians.