Colombia’s road to peace is long and arduous. Moreover, more than one million Venezuelan refugees have fled to Colombia. The message from Foreign Minister Maas during his visit to Bogotá is clear: Germany stands shoulder to shoulder with Colombia and is supporting the country both in the peace process and in looking after the refugees from Venezuela. Maas gave this assurance during his talks with the Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Trujillo and President Iván Duque. Today Maas will visit a reintegration camp for ex-FARC members where he will talk to the families of combatants. The painful and emotional road to reconciliation is especially evident there.
Peace and reconciliation
Germany is one of the main supporters on the difficult path to durable peace. The German Special Envoy Tom Koenigs travels to Colombia regularly to mediate or participate in political consultations. Germany is also actively working to further peace in Colombia at the UN in New York. The trip to Colombia underscores Germany’s commitment as a member of the Security Council to women, peace and security. While in Bogotá, Heiko Maas will visit the German-Colombian Peace Institute CAPAZ, which is financed by Germany and is the first of its kind in the world. It supports the peace process both academically and with practical advice. One message is especially important to Maas in Colombia: in the difficult and exhausting search for peace, political players and the population should have patience and continue their impressive journey despite the many obstacles.
Focus on Venezuela
Ordinary people in particular are suffering due to the crisis in Venezuela. Of the more than one million Venezuelans who have fled to Colombia due to the severe shortages and repressions by Maduro’s regime, more than 200,000 live in Bogotá. Today, Foreign Minister Maas is meeting representatives of the Venezuelan opposition who had to flee to Colombia. He will thus highlight his support for those who have been particularly hard hit by the emergency caused by the Maduro regime. Germany is providing financial aid to those countries which have taken in and are looking after refugees, mainly to Colombia but also to other neighbours of Venezuela, and is working in the international contact group for a peaceful political solution in Venezuela with free and fair presidential elections. In all this, Maas remains convinced that Juan Guaidó is Venezuela’s legitimate Interim President.