EP plenarinė sesija
2018 01 16
President, Commissioner, Colleagues,
Colombia is one of our key partners in Latin America, our relations are based on political dialogue, trade cooperation, joint efforts to achieve sustainable development and peace-building, which the EU has supported since the very beginning. When, in 2016, one of the most ambitious peace agreements in the recent history between the Colombian authorities and the FARC was signed, the EU has reconfirmed its support to peace-building through a financial support package and a trust fund for Columbia, with a special focus on economic development and agricultural productivity.
Nevertheless, recent events show that the peace process in Colombia remains challenged and the EU support is of crucial importance. The ceasefire agreement between the Colombian Government and the ELN has expired on 9 January without any extension, and the rebels launched a new offensive last week killing members of security forces, attacking an important crude oil pipeline.
Therefore, I call on all involved parties to resume the talks on the extension of the ceasefire as soon as possible in order to secure the progress made in peace and confidence-building over the past months. The various attacks by the ELN in different parts of Colombia are unacceptable. What is needed is a serious and constructive dialogue and the commitment of both parties, the Government and the ELN, to reach a solution of the conflict through political means.
Recently we can see that the desire for the continued suspension of military action has been unanimous throughout Colombia. The communities have a strong belief in a prosperous future for their country and want to achieve not only peace but also prosperity and good living conditions for all inhabitants.
I hope that the Colombian Government will play a key role in providing the necessary security, administration, healthcare system and infrastructure they need and in helping the local farmers to get better access to the market, and the families of the victims should be high on the political agenda.
We shall also not forget about the thousands of former rebel combatants whose reintegration into Colombian society is a huge and important task for the Colombian authorities. A sustained improvement in the humanitarian situation of the communities affected by the conflict can only be realised with a permanent ceasefire. So the EU shall support further the peace process in Colombia.