Leaders worldwide on Tuesday and Wednesday declareded their support for the announced peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC.
The United States, The Catholic Church, the Organization of American States, the European Union and leaders worldwide welcomed the government’s televised announcement of the beginning of peace negotiations which aim to put an end to nearly five decades of armed conflict.
One of the first pronunciations was from Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who on his Twitter account said: “We will accompany our Colombian brothers in their struggle to achieve peace. Like Simon Bolivar said: ‘Peace is my door, peace is my everything’.”
The Cuban government similarly celebrated the start of the peace process and announced that it will “continue its solidarity in support of the struggle.The government of Cuba has made constructive efforts to seek a solution to the negotiations […..] without influencing them in any way,” said the Cuban ambassador in Bogota.
Chile confirmed the appointment of the ambassador Milenko Skoknic as a collaborator in the process and said the country would do “everything in our power to help the process culminate in success, sealing the genuine friendship and esteem the Chilean people have for their Colombian brothers.”
The Foreign Minister of Norway, where the Colombian government and rebels will hold their talks, said “It takes courage to seek peace. I would like to commend the parties for entering into a dialogue that could bring an end to the protracted armed conflict in Colombia.”
United States President Barack Obama welcomed the announcement, saying that “the Santos administration has demonstrated a unwavering committment to the search for lasting peace and to ensure the best life for all Colombians through political security and social inclusion.”
The bishop of the western Colombian city of Buenaventura told Vatican Radio after a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI that the Catholic Church in Colombia is committed to the reconcilliation and will work “for the return of a nation consumed by violence to the hope of peace.” The pope is said to have repeatedly expressed his concern for the Colombian situation.
Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos set forth “a realistic agenda,”
“Colombia, its government and its people, have made great sacrifices in the last decade to strengthen its democracy, its internal unity and its international image, thus creating favorable conditions to bring to a political end a conflict that significantly alters national life,” Insaulza added.
The E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, said the E.U. sees the talks as a “unique window of opportunity.”
“The violence must end. The FARC should seize this moment to take responsibility and prove its sincerity by ceasing its attacks and violations of international humanitarian law,” Ashton said
Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff said the success of the negotiations bring “great benefits to the Colombain towns and consolidates the image of one South America that makes major peace changes today.”
The talks between the Colombian government and the rebel group are the first in ten years. Representatives of both warring parties have beennegotiating secretly in Cuba over the past half year to clear the way for formal negotiations that must lead to the final end of the 48-year-old armed conflict.