17 May 2014 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has today welcomed the agreement reached between Colombia's Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) on dealing with illicit drugs in the country.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban welcomed the agreement reached yesterday by the negotiating parties in Havana, Cuba, which, according to media reports, would see the two sides working together to combat drug trafficking.
Reports also suggest the deal calls for FARC to also cooperate with the Government to assist farmers in growing crops other than coca, the plant used to make cocaine.
“A stepped up effort under this agreement to bring alternative development to regions plagued by illicit crops should mean a better life for many Colombians,” said the UN chief in his statement, which added that the agreement would also help counter the crime and violence associated with the trade in illegal narcotics.
“The Secretary-General commends the parties and encourages them to maintain the momentum in the peace talks,” the statement concludes.
Yesterday's agreement is the latest step in the ongoing Havana-based peace talks between the Colombian Government and the rebel group, FARC. In November 2013, the parties reached a deal on political participation and enhancing the role of women, which the Secretray-General also welcomed.
Some 600,000 people have died since the conflict between the country's authorities and the FARC began in the 1960s. The two sides are working to end the long-running conflict through full imeplementation of the General Agreement for the End of the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace, signed two years ago.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue