Colombian peace agreement approved

'It is very positive that the peace agreement in Colombia has now been finally approved by the Colombian Congress. This means that it can enter into force, and that the important work to implement what the parties have agreed on can begin. It is vital that all those who want to see an end to the long conflict actively support the agreement,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

After a narrow majority of voters rejected the first agreement in a referendum on 2 October, President Juan Manuel Santos launched a renewed national dialogue that included opponents of the agreement, and changes were made to a number of points in the original text. A new peace agreement was signed by the Colombian Government and FARC-EP on 24 November. The agreement brings an end to 52 years of armed conflict between the Colombian Government and FARC-EP. More than two hundred thousand people have lost their lives as a result of the conflict, and millions have been forced to flee their homes.

'Norway will continue its efforts to support Colombia in the demanding phase that lies ahead. Together with the parties to the conflict, we will participate in the follow-up commission that will ensure that the agreement is implemented. Civil society and human rights organisations will play a key role in the time ahead, and we will continue to support their work,' said Mr Brende.

The peace agreement addresses the root causes of the conflict in Colombia, and covers issues such as political participation and land ownership reforms. The rights of victims have a central place in the agreement, as they have had throughout the negotiations. The peace talks were formally launched in Oslo in October 2012, and have since then been held in Havana. Norway and Cuba have served as facilitators of the peace process.