Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday announced he had appointed the country’s peace commissioner ambassador to the European Union in Brussels.
Santos made the announcement on the day the United Nations began removing 7,000 arms from camps where members of now-demobilized guerrilla group FARC had been demobilizing.
The outgoing peace commissioner, Sergio Jaramillo, had accompanied Colombia’s process between the state and the country’s oldest and largest guerrilla group since before talks were formally announced five years ago.
According to President Juan Manuel Santos, Jaramillo had requested to be removed from his position.
I told him that he couldn’t retire, that he could retire as peace commissioner, but to keep fighting for peace from a different position … and that is the embassy in Brussels, the embassy to the European Union.
President Juan Manuel Santos
Jaramillo has been a close political ally of Santos since both were serving under former President Alvaro Uribe.
The former peace commissioner was one of the first to get involved in the peace talks with the FARC when in 2011 negotiations were still secret and before the chief negotiation position was given to former vice president Humberto de la Calle.
Before becoming peace commissioner in 2010, Jaramillo was vice-minister of defense under Santos.
Jaramillo will switch offices with the current ambassador to the EU and Santos’ first Defense Minister, Rodrigo Rivera.
The incoming peace commissioner will be responsible for ongoing peace talks with the country’s last-standing guerrilla group, the ELN, and oversee the continuation of the peace process with the FARC until the end of Santos’ term in August 2018.