The Colombian government and the country’s main rebel group FARC announced on Monday that a series of conferences will be held to discuss the problem of illegal drugs in Colombia.
The announcement comes exactly a year after both parties signed the general agreement which committed them to ending the country’s 49-year armed conflict.
They confirmed that on Saturday, in discussion with the United Nations and the Universidad Nacional’s think-tank for Peace, it was agreed that a series of conferences would be held to discuss illegal drugs, the 4th point on the agenda of the general agreement.
The official statement declares that the central aim of the conferences will be “to offer a space for democratic dialogue so that a diverse range of citizens and organizations can make proposals about this specific point on the agenda and thereby enrich the peace negotiations.”
“We invite all those people and organizations interested in this issue to come forward with their visions and their solutions,” added the statement.
The first conference will take place in the capital Bogota from September 24 to 26. The second will run between from October 1 to 3 in San Jose del Guaviare, the capital of Guaviare department in Colombia’s Eastern Plains.
The location of the second conference is significant because the Eastern Plains, which stretch along the Brazil and Venezuela borders, are one of the most lucrative drug trafficking areas in Colombia, believed to be worth as much as $300 million per year in cocaine sales.
According to the official statement, San Jose del Guaviare was chosen so that it could serve as a “case study for finding a solution to the illegal drugs problem within a specific area.”
Conferences relating to other points on the agenda, namely agrarian reform and political participation, have already been held.
Peace talks between Colombia’s government and the FARC have been running since November. They paused briefly on Friday after the guerrillas asked to examine the government’s proposed referendum over an eventual deal, but resumed again on Monday.
- Comunicado Conjunto (Colombia Government & FARC-EP)
- Gobierno y Farc convocan foro sobre lucha contra las drogas (El Pais)
- FARC-EP y gobierno colombiano anuncian foro sobre drogas ilícitas (Prensa Latina)