LONDON MEETING ON INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR COLOMBIA
10 JULY 2003
Senior representatives of the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America and of the European Commission, the UN and agencies, the Andean Development Corporation, Inter-American Development Bank, IMF and World Bank met in London on 10 July to discuss the situation in Colombia. All Government representatives present reaffirmed their strong political support for the Colombian Government in its efforts to address threats to democracy, terrorism, illegal drugs, human rights and international humanitarian law violations and the serious humanitarian crisis.
The meeting was opened by Bill Rammell MP, Minister responsible for relations with Latin America in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Vice President and the Foreign Minister of Colombia attended the meeting and set out their Governments strategy and vision for the future.
The meeting welcomed and acknowledged the views of civil society which were presented by ABColombia and a representative of Colombian civil society.
All Government representatives present expressed their full support for the democratically elected Colombian Government and for all efforts to develop the fully functioning institutions of a democratic state throughout its territory, based on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law and the welfare and safety of all citizens, and to reform the countrys institutions. They expressed their support for the Colombian Government in its fight against conflict-related violence and illegal drug production and trafficking, underlining the need in so doing to respect the rule of law, human rights and, when applicable, international humanitarian law.
They welcomed President Uribes commitment to seek a negotiated solution to the internal conflict in Colombia including through direct engagement with those illegal armed groups prepared to negotiate a peace agreement. They underlined the importance of the contribution of the UN. They offered their full continuing support to the good offices of the UN Secretary-General, and thanked the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Colombia for his contribution.
They expressed their willingness to provide practical help to the Colombian Government and the UN in peace efforts. They called upon all the illegal armed groups to agree to a ceasefire and to enter a serious negotiating process to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict. They condemned all violent acts against the civilian population and elected representatives and called for the release of kidnap victims, and the halting of narcotics trafficking.
They expressed deep concern about the humanitarian crisis in Colombia, particularly the plight of internally displaced persons, as well as the grave human rights and international humanitarian law situation. They voiced their strong support for the work undertaken by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia. They noted with satisfaction the Colombian Governments pledge to implement the recommendations made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. They urged the Colombian Government to implement these recommendations promptly and to take effective action against impunity and collusion especially with paramilitary groups.
They welcomed the efforts of President Uribe to reform Colombian institutions in order to develop a fully functioning democratic state throughout its territory, based on the rule of law, respect for human rights, the safety and welfare of its citizens, social and economic reform and sustainable economic development. They emphasised the importance of such measures, especially in rural areas that have borne the brunt of the conflict, in helping to achieve a peaceful solution. They noted the significant role which the private sector could play in meeting some of these challenges.
They welcomed the Colombian Governments statement that they recognised and supported the role of civil society and Non Governmental Organisations as important stakeholders in carrying out reform, implementing development programmes and defending human rights and moving towards a negotiated settlement of the internal armed conflict. They further welcomed and underlined the importance of the Colombian Governments pledge to protect civil society leaders, including of trade unions, who have suffered threats against themselves and their families.
Finally, they agreed to review and refocus their cooperation programmes with particular emphasis on contributing to the strengthening of state institutions, the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis, the protection of human rights, environmental activities and the development of alternatives to drug production. Having taken careful note of the Colombian Governments priorities in these areas, they agreed to consider how to make their cooperation programmes more effective in the light of the current situation in Colombia, with a view to a donors co-ordination conference to be organised by the Inter-American Development Bank at a date convenient to the Colombian Government and the donor community.
10 July 2003
US Office on Colombia
1630 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 201
Washington DC 20009