New breakthrough in Colombian peace talks
In Havana today the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC-EP, announced that they have reached an agreement on political participation. The agreement is to ensure broad participation in the political process.
“It is very encouraging that the parties have now agreed to strengthen democracy in Colombia. We are a vital step closer to achieving a final peace agreement,” said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
The agreement grants new and more extensive rights and guarantees to the political opposition in Colombia. It paves the way for future political participation by FARC – once they have laid down their weapons.
Norway and Cuba are jointly facilitating peace talks to bring to an end more than 50 years of internal conflict in Colombia. Norwegian diplomats take part in the talks. The conflict has had severe humanitarian consequences for the civilian population. More than four million people have been internally displaced as a result of the conflict. The peace talks were launched in Oslo in October 2012. They have since continued in Havana, where an agreement on agricultural reform was reached earlier this year.
“The conflict is an obstacle to economic and social development in Colombia. Norway will continue to support the peace talks to bring the armed conflict in Colombia to an end,” said Mr Brende.
A number of key issues are yet to be resolved, including abandonment of arms, the drug problem and compensation for victims of the conflict.