Colombia on the Situation in the Country – Media Stakeout ( 9 March 2020)

Informal comments to the media by H.E. Mr. Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia on the Situation in the Country.

After meeting with Secretary-General António Guterres, the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, today (9 Mar) told reporters that Colombia and the United Nations have finalized negotiations on a framework working agreement for the period 2020 – 2023, based on “three
central axes; peace with legality, attention to migrant populations, and the implementation in our country of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

On the issue of Venezuelan migrants in Colombia, Duque said, “the amount of international cooperation to attend migrants in other crises, has an approximate amount of more than 3,000 dollars per migrant. In the case of Latin America, the deployment of resources to attend the crisis does not even match 200 dollars per migrant. So, most of the burden has been taken by the countries, obviously including Colombia, that has now 1.7 million Venezuelan brothers and sisters in our territory.”

He said Colombia is implementing a comprehensive policy “based on fraternity but also on a rigorous procedure to evaluate the access to Colombia and to provide as much help as possible considering our financial and fiscal state.”

On combatting drug trafficking and illegal crops, he said, “we contemplate using every tool. What are those tools? Manual eradication, voluntary eradication, formalizing crop substitutions, which is being implemented. Also, alternative development. We will also draw contracts on environmental protection in many parts of our territory, and wherever it is necessary, precision spraying following the directives and protocols established by the constitutional court.”

Asked about the government’s relationship with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights (OHCHR), Duque said, “we made specific comments about certain aspects” of OHCHR’s report, “voicing perhaps our protestations. But I believe that there’s always been a proactive sense of analysing those comments.”

On the killings of social leaders in Colombia, he said, “we have to bring that situation to zero. That would be an ideal world. But we are working on that front. And I want to say that the majority of threats and killings of social leaders, come from those organized armed groups that keep on nurturing themselves on drug trafficking and the illegal extraction of minerals, two criminal phenomena that we are attacking from the government. And I said it last year in my speech to the nation’s congress in our report to the Colombian people in our first year in government, with coca there is no peace.”

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António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres GCC GCL is a Portuguese politician and diplomat serving as the ninth secretary-general of the United Nations. A member of the Portuguese Socialist Party, he served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002.

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    Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a transcontinental country largely in the north of South America, with territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east by Venezuela, the southeast by Brazil, and the west by the Pacific Ocean.

    The capital is Bogotá, the country’s largest city. With over 50 million inhabitants Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world. The Republic of Colombia was declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903.

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