Friday, August 19, 2016

Colombia Peace Commissioner Tells Inner City Press of ELN Talks, Says FARC To Stop Illicit Activities: UN to Monitor?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19 -- Colombia will be discussed by the UN Security Council on August 26, and in the run-up its High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo spoke with the Press in New York. In the sit-down portion, Inner City Press asked him about criticism of the accountability provisions in the government's deal with the FARC, and of the status of talks with the ELN.

   Jaramillo said the criticism is unrealistic; they had to negotiated with the FARC, and got them to agree to trials for grave crimes like rape and other war crimes. But others get softer treatment. Jaramillo said implementation will be the key.

   Jaramillo said FARC has agreed, no illicit activity to fund their organization. The UN mission would be storing weapons in containers, as it did for example in Nepal. But would it have any drug or illicit activity role?

  On the ELN, Jaramillo said as long as they hold hostages, talks cannot proceed.

   Colombia's President Santos will speak at the UN General Assembly on September 21; there may be an event for bankers or investment bankers. Watch this site.

On Colombia back on March 11, even with the deadline for an agreement between the government and the FARC being pushed back, Germany's Special Envoy on Colombia Tom Koenigs spoke with the Press.

He had, he said, met with UN Under Secretaries General Feltman, Mulet, Ladsous and Khare, about the upcoming UN mission to be headed by Frenchman Jean Arnault. He noted the history of cultural exchange between Germany and Colombia," saying that "Germans read a lot of Garcia Marquez."

 Inner City Press asked Koenigs about the cost of the peace process - and how much Germany would contribute - and about impunity, including in relation to the process, such as it is, in Sri Lanka.

  Koenigs among other things said:

To Inner City Press' financial question: "Germany has close relations to Colombia and is ready to support the peace process politically and through technical cooperation in a number of areas. Loan of 300 million Euros by German KfW Development Bank. In addition: 50 million in technical and development cooperation, plus  approximately 1 million EUR per year for bilateral demining programs. Also: science and technology transfer through cooperation of universities in the two countries."

To Inner City Press' impunity question: "Those responsible for war crimes have to be brought to justice. Colombia is establishing a transitional justice system and is also a party to the Rome Statute. Impunity is not an option. However, prisons are not the only possible method of corrections. There may be alternatives which could be explored."

  Inner City Press had and has some questions about those not part of the FARC negotiations in Cuba - more on that in another story.