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Kearney expresses concern at set backs for Colombian Peace process

2 September, 2019 - by Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney has expressed his concern and disappointment at recent set backs for the Colombian peace process, following the announcement of a return to armed action by a small group of former FARC leaders, and the subsequent bombing of a guerilla camp by the Colombian government.

The South Antrim MLA said:

"It has become increasingly clear over recent months that the peace process in Colombia was under severe pressure largely due to the failure of the Colombian government, under President Duque, to fully implement the state's commitments based on the terms of the 2016 Peace Agreement negotiated and agreed by President Santos.

"It was a matter of deep concern that from the very outset of the Agreement being signed, right wing paramilitary death squads embarked on a systematic assassination campaign. In the period since over 700 former FARC activists and social leaders, including trade unionists, journalists, and civic leaders, have been killed. 

“The announcement by former FARC commanders and Peace Agreement negotiators, Ivan Marquez and Jesus Santrich, that they will resume an armed campaign is very disappointing and regrettable.

"However, the haste of President Duque to almost immediately authorise aerial bomb attacks on suspected bases will do nothing to convince the more than 90% of former FARC activists who remain committed to the 2016 Peace Agreement that his government is genuinely wedded to the Agreement and committed to meet its obligations.

“These are developments which will further destabilise an already fragile and fledgling peace process.

"The experiences of our peace process in Ireland is that the signing of Agreements in themselves do not deliver the transformations required in society. That only happens when Agreements are implemented in full and new relationships and trust are developed and sustained. Good faith dialogue and engagement must have primacy at all times.

"Sinn Féin urges all parties to the Peace Agreement to redouble their commitments to the 2016 Agreement.

"The public statements issued by the FARC political party making this clear, represent leadership at a time of heightened tension and danger in Colombia, and should be welcomed.

"Positive international encouragement is needed for the Colombian peace process.

"I welcome the restatement by the representatives of the Cuban and Norwegian governments, which are guarantors to the 2016 Agreement, of their commitment to help to consolidate the peace process at this time, and ensure the 2016 Agreement is embedded and fully implemented.” 

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