BOGOTA – Averting a resurgence of violence and an expansion of illegal activities will be Colombia’s biggest challenges once the government and FARC rebels sign a peace agreement, the minister for post-conflict implementation said Thursday.
Many times, Rafael Pardo said during the third Colombia-European Union Forum, the years following a peace accord witness a revival of the conflict or the start of a new one.
“The signing of the agreement is tremendously important, we must unite and reach consensus to work on a policy that allows that peace to be sustainable,” he said.
Colombians must also be alert to a possible increase in illegal activities after the conflict ends, Pardo said.
He pointed to the example of Afghanistan, where the toppling of the Taliban was followed by a twentyfold increase in the expansion of opium poppies.
“Political and military peace does not necessarily bring the reduction of violence or illegality,” Pardo said.
Once the FARC fighters stand down and abandon their strongholds, “the first challenge for the state” will be to ensure that no other armed factions seek to move in, he said.