Norway welcomes agreement between Colombian Government and FARC on illicit drugs

'It is encouraging that the parties to the conflict have now reached agreement on how they can work together to combat the problems related to illicit drugs in Colombia. The production and sale of cocaine is a serious problem not only for Colombia itself but also for the international community as a whole,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The press release in Spanish (pdf) 

 

'It is encouraging that the parties to the conflict have now reached agreement on how they can work together to combat the problems related to illicit drugs in Colombia. The production and sale of cocaine is a serious problem not only for Colombia itself but also for the international community as a whole,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

On 16 May, the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC-EP, reached agreement on the important issue of illicit drugs. The agreement is part of the ongoing peace negotiations between FARC, which is South America’s oldest guerrilla organisation, and the Colombian Government.

‘It is a good sign that enough progress has been made in the peace talks for the parties to agree on joint steps to combat illicit drugs, even though difficult questions still need to be resolved,’ said Mr Brende.

Colombia is one of the largest cocaine producers in the world, and the illegal drug economy is an important aspect of the conflict. The agreement will involve considerable changes in Colombia’s narcotics policy. For example, major programmes are to be launched to help the many farmers who currently produce coca crops to switch to other, legal agricultural products. FARC and the Government have also agreed on a joint programme to clear landmines and other explosives. In addition, the agreement includes steps to curb the drugs trade and prevent drug abuse.

This agreement deals with one of five main points that are to be included in a final peace agreement between FARC and the Colombian Government. The parties have previously reached agreement on far-reaching reform of the agricultural sector (May 2013) and political participation (November 2013). The issues that remain to be dealt with are the rights of the victims and the mechanics of ending the conflict (including a ceasefire, laying down weapons and reintegration of FARC guerrillas into society).

‘Norway will continue to assist the parties in finding a peaceful solution to the armed conflict. Peace is essential for economic, social and political progress in the country. This is also in Norway’s interests,’ said Mr Brende.

The armed conflict in Colombia has lasted for more than 50 years and has had severe humanitarian consequences and caused great suffering. Several hundred thousand people have been killed and more than five million people have been internally displaced. Norway, together with Cuba, is facilitating the peace talks, which have been in progress since October 2012.