Juan Manuel Santos was on 15 June re-elected President of Colombia. 'Mr Santos’s election victory gives him a solid platform on which to continue peace talks with the FARC and the ELN,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Mr Santos received 50.9 % of the votes in the second round of voting on Sunday, against challenger Óscar Iván Zuluaga, who received 45 %.
‘Mr Santos has shown a clear willingness to move the peace process forward and continue negotiations both with the FARC, and more recently with the ELN. Colombia has a historic opportunity to achieve peace, and it is now vital to mobilise the broadest possible support for the peace process. Norway stands ready to continue to assist the parties with the negotiations,’ Mr Brende said.
The armed conflict in Colombia has lasted for 50 years and has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Colombians. More than five million people have been internally displaced as a result of the conflict.
Peace talks with FARC were launched in Oslo in October 2012, and significant progress has been made. The parties have reached agreement on three of five points on the negotiating agenda and have signed agreements on rural reform, on combating illicit drugs and on guarantees for political participation.
Last week it also became known that the Colombian Government has initiated talks with the smaller rebel group, the ELN. Norway is acting as facilitator in the two parallel peace processes.