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Switzerland accompanies peace negotiations in Colombia

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 19 October 2023

Switzerland is taking on an official mandate in the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and a splinter group of the former guerrilla organisation Farc (EMC), which opened on Monday. It will accompany the negotiations together with other countries as a so-called guarantor state.

Switzerland accompanies peace negotiations in Colombia
Farc Leaders (Source: Flickr)

Switzerland, together with Ireland, Norway and Venezuela, will be present at the negotiations and provide political and technical support, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) announced on Tuesday evening. This is a sign of appreciation for Switzerland’s peace policy work and Swiss diplomacy.

In the peace talks, the Colombian government wants to include as many armed groups as possible in a comprehensive peace. The Peace and Human Rights Section (AFM) of the FDFA advises the parties on request on issues such as compliance with the ceasefire, the participation of society or the protection of the civilian population.

To kick off the negotiation process, the parties signed a ceasefire agreement on Monday. Until mid-January next year, the armed forces, police and rebels intend to refrain from offensive operations against each other, representatives of the government and the EMC announced at a meeting on Monday in the town of Tibú.

After the peace agreement between Colombia and the leftist Farc in 2016, the EMC split off from the country’s largest rebel group at the time and remained underground. Today, the organisation is primarily a criminal organisation involved in drug trafficking, illegal mining and protection rackets.

Colombia suffered 52 years of civil war between left-wing rebels, right-wing paramilitaries and the military. Although the security situation improved after the peace agreement in 2016, parts of the South American country are still controlled by illegal groups. Peace talks with the ELN guerrilla organisation are currently underway.

©Keystone/SDA

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