LA VENTA, Colombia – French President François Hollande said on Tuesday that the Colombian peace process is an example for the world and promised that Paris will continue providing support during the post-conflict period.
“It’s important for Colombia, for the regions devastated by the conflict, also for Latin America and the world because the oldest (armed) conflict is going to cease,” said Hollande in the village of La Venta at the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism camp where Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas will congregate to turn in their weapons and demobilize.
This part if southwestern Cauca province saw heavy fighting during the more-than-50-year-long war, and thus – Hollande believes – “it will be an example.”
He said that the region “was a war zone and is returning to the path of hope,” which he considers to be “a message of confidence in the future.”
The French leader also mentioned the victims of the conflict, having met with some of them Tuesday morning, adding that people have “a responsibility to them.”
Therefore, he said, France will place its experience at the disposal of the unit searching for disappeared persons established in the peace pact signed on Nov. 24.
Hollande also referred to development in regions like Cauca, saying that “there can be no peace just by disarming the guerrillas or integrating them into the political process.”
“Peace means that for the population there is prosperity, development, security,” he emphasized.
The French leader said that Europe “will assume its share” of responsibility in helping Colombia, adding that France will transform its words of support into action.
Hollande also mentioned the United Nations support for the Colombian peace process, noting that France is a permanent member of the Security Council, and he added that France “fully” supported the two resolutions approved by the international body on that process.
Hollande arrived in Colombia on Sunday and on Monday he began his official agenda, which included assorted activities in Bogota with his Colombian counterpart and host, Juan Manuel Santos.
The French leader is scheduled to depart for Paris later on Tuesday.