‘This has been a historic week in the peace negotiations in Colombia. Never before in any peace process have the victims been invited to participate at the negotiating table,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The parties to the peace process in Colombia can look back on a historic week of critical importance. The Colombian Government and FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo) have met the first delegation of victims at the negotiating table in Havana. The parties have appointed a commission to report on the causes and consequences of the conflict, and have also established a sub-commission, involving the participation of Colombia’s armed forces, to propose a framework for a final ceasefire and demobilisation.
The Colombian Government began formal negotiations with the country’s largest rebel group, FARC-EP, in Oslo in October 2012. The negotiations have since taken place in Havana. Talks are also being held with the smaller rebel group, ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional). ELN was formed in 1964, as was FARC-EP, and is the second largest armed rebel group in Colombia. Norway is acting as facilitator in the peace process with FARC-EP and in the discussions with the ELN.
‘Norway will continue to assist the parties in finding a peaceful solution to the armed conflict in Colombia, and will build on the important work done so far by Norwegian diplomats. Peace is crucial for promoting economic, social and political development in the country,’ Mr Brende said.
The armed conflict in Colombia has lasted for over 50 years. The humanitarian consequences are enormous and the conflict has brought widespread suffering to the country’s population. Several hundred thousand people have been killed, and more than five million have been internally displaced.