News story | Date: 11/12/2016
Prime Minister Erna Solberg met Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos today. President Santos is in Norway in connection with receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016, which he was awarded yesterday.
‘I congratulated President Santos on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and on the fact that the peace agreement was approved by the Colombian Congress last week. President Santos has had the peace process in Colombia at the top of his political agenda for a long time. Bringing an end to a conflict that has lasted over 50 years will mean a great deal to the Colombian people,’ said Ms Solberg.
Ever since he was elected, President Santos has worked to find a solution to the armed conflict in Colombia. Formal negotiations with the FARC-EP guerrilla group were launched in Oslo in 2012. A final peace agreement was signed on 24 November, after the first agreement was rejected in a referendum on 2 October. As facilitator of the peace process together with Cuba, Norway has followed the parties closely over the years while the negotiations have been taking place.
‘President Santos has dedicated his peace prize to the victims of the conflict. It is hoped that the peace agreement with the FARC-EP can help to bring lasting peace to Colombia. President Santos has said that it is more difficult to make peace than to make war. I hope that the Nobel Peace Prize can support and encourage him in his demanding work to bring peace to Colombia. The prize also gives recognition to the other party to the negotiations, the FARC-EP, which will now make the difficult transition from being an illegal rebel group to becoming a political party,’ said Ms Solberg.
The Colombian Government has also agreed to start formal negotiations on a peace agreement with the other major guerrilla group in Colombia, the ELN.
In their meeting today, Prime Minister Solberg and President Santos also discussed the cooperation between Norway and Colombia on protecting Colombia’s rainforests. These efforts are important for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
‘The peace agreement with the FARC-EP can make it easier for Colombia to follow up its ambitious plans to protect its rainforests. We are looking forward to continued cooperation with Colombia in this area,’ said Ms Solberg.