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For peace in Colombia: Commitment, coherence and responsibility.

Cartel ColombiaCuban Foreign Ministry releases statement in the wake of recent events in Colombia, reaffirming our commitment to continue cooperating in the search for peace and calling for adherence to the accords signed in Havana in 2016

“Cuba has been patient and prudent. We hope that, at some point, the will to achieve peace, the legitimate interest and self-determination of the Colombian people, reason and good sense will prevail,” stated the Cuban Foreign Ministry (Minrex) in a recent statement, clarifying the facts surrounding information the Cuban Embassy in Colombia’s received – the veracity of which could not be evaluated – regarding a supposed military attack by the ELN’s Eastern War Front, to be carried out in coming days in the city of Bogota.

Minrex specifies that the ELN (National Liberation Army) Peace Delegation in Havana was immediately advised, and expressed total ignorance of the situation, reiterating that it had no involvement in the military decisions or operations of the organization.

Faced with information of this nature, involving a possible event that could put the lives of innocent people at risk, the Cuban Ambassador in Colombia, José Luis Ponce, was immediately instructed and requested, on Saturday, February 6, at 7:49 pm, an interview with Colombian Foreign Minister Claudia Blum, or a designated official, to convey sensitive, urgent information about a possible attack in Colombia.

At 8:39 pm, contact was made with Deputy Chancellor Francisco Echeverry, although due to the fact that he was outside the capital, the information was conveyed only via telephone, for which he expressed his gratitude. During the call, despite Cuba’s manifest interest in holding a meeting immediately, Echeverry scheduled a meeting for the two on Monday, February 8, at 10:00 am.

By decision of Colombian authorities, the meeting finally took place at 5:15 pm on Monday, when the Cuban Ambassador delivered to the Deputy Chancellor a memorandum containing the information that had been sent to our embassy.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry points out, “We then observed with surprise that a security matter, of the greatest sensitivity, treated with the utmost discretion and urgency by our country, was immediately made available to the media. Twenty-five minutes after Cuba delivered the memorandum, the Colombian press was using the information and publishing a copy of the document itself.”

On Thursday, February 11, at 6:30 pm, our ambassador in Bogota was finally received by the Colombian Foreign Minister and other high-ranking officials of the Colombian state. Three days earlier, on February 8 at 8:00 pm, the High Commissioner for Peace, in a statement to the press, had used this sensitive information, a security issue, as a pretext to attack Cuba based on false assumptions, with the usual hostility and focus that only aggravate the differences between the two governments and damage the participation of international actors in the peace process.

Cuba does not know whether Colombian authorities proceeded to conduct any investigation, quickly discarded the information, or were already aware of it.

The Cuban position on the Colombian government’s demand that members of the ELN Peace Delegation who remain in Havana be extradited, under the responsibility of the Colombian state, has been established and reported in private and also through official, public channels. Cuba will rigorously fulfill its obligation, as a guarantor and the venue of the Peace Talks, to guarantee the safe return of the ELN Peace Delegation, established in the Protocol of Rupture during the negotiations, agreed upon and signed by the Colombian state and the ELN, along with six states, on April 5, 2016. As the Colombian government is aware, this position has broad support from the international community, which has made direct contact with the Colombian government calling for its implementation.

Constantly demanding that Cuba violate the signed agreement is a violation of international law. “Our country will maintain unchanged its rigorous and discreet action, firmly adhering to principles and demonstrated over decades of participation in peace efforts in Colombia. We reaffirm our willingness and commitment to continue cooperating with sectors committed to the search for a negotiated resolution of the Colombian armed conflict to achieve peace,” reads the Minrex statement, published February 13.

This document reiterates Cuba’s concern regarding Colombian authorities’ non-compliance and unilateral attempts to modify the Peace Agreement with the FARC-EP, as well as the growing number of murders and massacres of former guerrilla members, social leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia.

(Taken from Granma)

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