The European Union announced on Thursday it had appointed Ireland’s former foreign minister to become the EU’s envoy for Colombia’s ongoing peace process.
The announcement was made by High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini who said in a press release she informed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of the decision earlier this week in New York.
Former Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore was previously involved in the peace process in Northern Ireland where the IRA was violently resisting British rule.
“Mr Gilmore’s direct involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process makes him an ideal envoy. It is a signal to the Colombians that the EU is standing by their efforts to put an end to one of the longest running and most murderous conflicts in the world. This is a unique opportunity that must not be lost,” Ms Mogherini said.
According to the European Commission’s high representative, Gilmore will be in charge of coordinating the EU’s “action and initiatives in support of peace, thus contributing to the smooth implementation of the future peace agreement for the benefit of all parts of Colombian society,” according to Mogherini’s office.
The announcement came on the day that US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Washington will continue to send counternarcotics aid to Colombia, but that this aid will be reallocated to support post conflict projects like crop restitution.
Santos and FARC leader “Timochenko” last week announced that they plan to sign a definite peace agreement within six months, which would end more than half a decade of violence between the leftist rebels and the Colombian state.
Peace talks have been ongoing since November 2012 and have so far led to agreements on a far-stretching rural reform, an amplification of the political participation of the FARC and other leftist organizations, the FARC’s abandoning of drug trafficking, and transitional justice for the tens of thousands of war crimes committed by both parties.
The FARC and the Santos administration are now negotiating “Victims” and “End of Conflict,” after which the armed conflict between the FARC would come to an end.