News story | Date: 28/11/2017 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
‘Colombia has made important progress since the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the guerrilla movement Farc was signed, a year ago today. But there are still major challenges to be overcome. Norway and Cuba are guarantor countries for the peace agreement, and will continue to support the process,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The peace agreement marked the end of a 50-year long armed conflict, which cost 220.000 people their lives and drove 7 million people from their homes. Since the signing of the agreement, the Farc have laid down their arms and gained the status of political party. However, experience from previous peace processes has shown that implementation of a peace agreement can be tougher than the negotiations preceding it. The international community has an important role to play in helping to ensure that peace agreements are implemented effectively.
‘The decommissioning of the Farc’s weapons has gone well. The process was monitored by the UN and the parties to the peace agreement, and was carried out without any serious security incidents. The Colombian Government has initiated important reforms as part of its work to follow up the agreement. However, the reintegration of former combatants is challenging, and the killings of several local leaders and human rights defenders give cause for concern. Norway is raising these and several other important issues with the Colombian authorities.
‘On 30 November, the ‘fast track’ mechanism in the Colombian Congress will come to an end. This has made it simpler to pass laws that are needed to implement the peace agreement, but important legislation still needs to be adopted. I have therefore asked our Ambassador to Colombia to contact the Colombian Congress and to urge it to pass the legislation needed to implement the peace agreement, and ensure that Colombian law is in line with the principles agreed in Havana,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.
Norway is providing considerable support for the implementation of the peace agreement in Colombia, both through the UN and through Norwegian NGOs, such as Norwegian People’s Aid, Caritas Norway and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Norway is also one of the guarantor countries in the negotiations between the Colombian Government and the guerrilla movement ELN. These negotiations started in Ecuador in February this year, and the parties agreed on a temporary ceasefire in October.