Colombia’s Minister of the Interior reported on Twitter Thursday that the government has finally reached an agreement with the indigenous U’wa group allowing repairs to the Caña Limon pipeline, which was damaged 38 days ago in an apparent guerilla attack and costing the government $8 million a day in losses, reported national media.
According to Caracol Radio, the agreement was signed after an 11 hour meeting between government representatives and U’wa leaders who have blockaded the area for over a month, preventing repairs to the pipeline until their concerns were heard.
The indigenous community has been demanding that the government had their territories back, stop all mining projects in the area, and pay them $1 billion in damages from oil exploitation.
The vice president of the Town Council of the natives, Heber Tegria, assured that the agreement leaves the U’wa indigenous with recognized colonial titles to their land.
According to El Espectador, the agreement states that Ecopetrol will suspend the China and Magallanes gas exploration project in the township of Troy, in Norte de Santander. During this time inspection bodies will form a team to check whether the project is harming the environment, according to a statement of the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The government also agreed to guarantee the integrity, human and environmental rights of the community.
The dialogue was held between the Minister of the Interior Aurelio Iragorri Valencia, Minister of Mines Amylkar Acosta, Ecopetrol President Javier Genaro Gutierrez, Deputy Minister of Citizen Participation of the Ministry of the Interior, Natalia Gutierrez, Deputy Defense Minister Juan Carlos Bedoya, and representatives of the Ombudsman and INCODER.