III Meeting of the Support Group for the Peace Process in Colombia

Brussels, April, 30, 2001


l. The third meeting of the Support Group was held in Brussels under the auspices of the European Commission (EC) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).Previous meetings were held in Madrid (July 2000) and Bogotá (October 2000).


2. The international community represented at the meeting reaffirms its support for the peace process in Colombia - which should be made irreversible - and encourages the parties directly involved in the process to reach negotiated solutions to the conflict. We welcome the stated objective of President Pastrana to make the peace process a state policy and fully support his efforts to forge a national consensus around it, including the Common Front for Peace created last October.


3. We strongly believe that respect for human rights and international humanitarian law is a pre-requisite for advancing the peace process and an indispensable basis for expanded international support. We reiterate our deep concern about the grave and persistent abuses of international humanitarian law and call on those groups responsible to put an end to violence, to respect human rights and to comply with international humanitarian law.

We therefore insist on the necessity for all groups concerned, including the FARC and the ELN, to stop all kidnapping, extortion and indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population and to reach - at the negotiating table - agreements which would facilitate an early cease-fire. The unacceptable practice of kidnapping should end immediately and all victims be released unconditionally.

The so-called “Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia” should understand that we unreservedly condemn the massacres which they are carrying out, violating the most fundamental rights to human life and dignity. We call for an immediate end to this abominable practice.

We also call upon the government of Colombia to continue its efforts to combat paramilitarism effectively and to continue taking concrete actions to dismantle such groups by arresting, prosecuting and punishing all those involved.

4. We support the recent agreements between the government and the FARC leadership (Los Pozos, February 8, 2001) and the preliminary agreement with the ELN (January 15, 2001), and call on all Colombians to ensure their full implementation.


5. We welcome recent steps that enhance the involvement of groups of nations facilitating, verifying and participating in the peace process. We also wish to express our full support for the role and efforts made by the Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations and welcome the recent efforts by governments of the region to strengthen Latin American support for the process.


6. We emphasize the importance of promoting the broad participation of different sections of Colombian society in the peace process. Broad-based ownership of the process, and a deepening of democracy and the role of Colombian civil society, are essential elements for sustainable development towards peace.

7. We believe that the peace process must be accompanied by a development strategy that betters the lives of the Colombian people. Such a strategy should emphasize the strengthening of public institutions and the rule of law, assist the vulnerable sectors of the population and provide integral alternative development opportunities. Pledges to support the peace and development process in Colombia made in Madrid and Bogotá were complemented in Brussels, reaching US$1.3 billion in overall commitments. The Colombian government expressed its appreciation to the international community for the generous contributions and encouraged all donors to accelerate the translation of these pledges into concrete programs.

8. We understand that the internal armed conflict and illicit drug trade are intertwined. We condemn and are determined to continue to combat, on the basis of the principle of shared responsibility, the production, trafficking and consumption of illegal drugs and call upon all those involved to end these activities.

9. We recognize Colombia's efforts to seek a comprehensive and balanced approach to combat drug production and trafficking, using a variety of measures. The recent manual eradication pacts with local communities are positive advances which should be expanded and merit increased international support.

10. Progress in the political negotiations with the insurgent groups, investments in social development, civil society and institutional strengthening, as well as the fight against illicit drug production and trade by all individuals and organisations are necessary to bring lasting peace and prosperity to the Colombian people.

11. We express our willingness to continue to meet in the future to further assist the Colombian peace process and evaluate progress made in reaching the objectives we have set ourselves.