On a recent trip to Colombia, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated the United States' strong support for the on-going peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The 50-year-old conflict has cost 220,000 lives.
"We admire President [Santos’s] commitment to peace with justice, and we all admire his vision of a prosperous and a peaceful post-conflict Colombia. We are all deeply committed to this vision of peace," said Secretary Kerry, "and we urge all Colombians to unite behind this vision. And if Colombians do, you will have the full support of the United States of America every step of the way."
The United States is already helping Colombia to build the key foundations of a post-conflict future through efforts to strengthen Colombia’s justice sector, reparation for conflict victims, land restitution, supporting Colombian agrarian reform, ongoing joint counter-narcotics efforts, support for Colombia’s sustainable development, and efforts to help the demobilization of combatants.
With U.S. support, Colombia has successfully graduated nearly 8,000 former FARC and paramilitary ex-combatants into a national reintegration program. The government has also made financial reparation to nearly half a million conflict victims, and restored over 84,000 hectares of land to more than 1,000 families that had been forcibly removed from their homes by the armed conflict.
From 2009 to 2013, the Colombian police force trained 22,000 international police personnel from more than 60 countries. Building on Colombian security expertise, in December 2013 the United States and Colombia announced the Action Plan on Regional Security Cooperation which formalized support to selected third countries.
Peace means a more stable and prosperous future for all Colombians. Anticipating this brighter future, we are deepening our economic relationship through cooperation on energy development, with our free trade agreement and the Pacific Alliance, and through growing educational exchanges. Building an educated workforce is also a priority for the Colombian government.
The United States hopes that 2015 will be the year that brings the Colombian people the security, the prosperity, and most importantly, the peace that Colombians deserve.