The European Union (EU) extended its support for the latest agreement to emerge from ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC rebel, the country’s largest, in a statement released Monday. group to dismantle the drug economy in Colombia.
The EU’s vote of confidence came after US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a similar statement praising the deal, which adresses the issue of drug cultivation and trafficking, the third of six items on the negotiation agenda. As part of the deal, the FARC reportedly agreed to “end any relationship” with illicit drugs the group currently maintains.
“The drugs trade has weakened political and social structures in Colombia for too long, fueled insecurity, and caused suffering,” said the European External Action Service (EEAS). “We are encouraged by the clear rejection of all links to it and by the common determination to fight it in all its dimensions. Dismantling the drugs economy will benefit the entire region and enable Colombia to reap the full advantages of peace and security.”
According to the statement, “The EU continues to support the Havana peace talks and strongly encourages the parties to continue discussions on the two remaining chapters in the same constructive spirit, with a view of reaching an early overall agreement to ensure stable and sustainable peace for the Colombian people.
“We are ready to assist them in this process as well as in the implementation of a final, overall agreement.”
Details of the most recent deal will not be released until such time as a broader agreement is reached. The deal, however, is expected to adress the controversial policy of aerial coca fumigation in the country, something US Secretary of State expressed support for in his statement.
“Reducing cocaine trafficking, including through eradication and interdiction, helped establish the conditions for the peace process now underway,” said Kerry, who praised the “success” of the controversial US aid package known as Plan Colombia, which Amnesty International has called “a failure in every respect.”
A previous Colombia Reports investigation confirmed widespread reports that the practice of dumping herbicide on suspected coca fields has indiscriminately killed licit crops and contaminated nearby water supplies and civilian populations throughout the country.
The EU’s statement made no mention of specific policy, but did highlight the FARC’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire to last until the end of Colombia’s upcoming election cycle, a decision the statement called “another welcome step.” The FARC will be joined in its ceasefire by the ELN, the country’s second largest rebel group.
“The announcement by the FARC and the ELN of a unilateral truce in the week ahead of the presidential elections is a further welcome step, allowing the Colombian people to exercise freely and in security their democratic rights,” read the statement.
“We call on the FARC and the ELN to extend this truce indefinitely as a sign of their commitment to end the conflict and pursue their goals by political means. In this respect, we hope that the ELN will also soon engage in peace talks.”
The ELN has repeatedly called for a formal peace process with the government along the lines of the one being extended to the FARC. So far, however, the government has refused to initiate any such dialogues.
No bilateral ceasefire was put in place prior to the start of the negotiation process with the FARC, which began in November 2012. The FARC has also repeatedly called for such an agreement, though, again, the government has declined.
- Acuerdo entre Colombia y Farc sobre drogas es un “paso hacia la paz”: UE (El Espectador)
- La UE ve un “paso hacia la paz” el acuerdo entre Colombia y FARC sobre drogas (Caracol Radio)
- Statement regarding provisional agreement on illicit drugs between the Government of Colombia and the FARC (European External Action Service)