Media Center

Press Release


  March 25, 2004

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez has again thanked the Organization of American States for its “unconditional solidarity” in supporting Colombia’s peace process and the hemispheric war on terrorism and arms and drug trafficking as well as its firm steps to bring transparency to the public service and consolidate the democratic process in the Americas.

“The OAS’ involvement in efforts to bring about peace in Colombia will help remove certain agents of instability in my country: helping the process helps promote peace in Colombia,” Uribe told a protocolary session of the OAS Permanent Council today, referring to the agreement his government signed with the OAS to help mobilize and reincorporate illegal armed groups into society.

The Colombian leader called on the international community to stand firm against terrorism in the region and the world at large. He reaffirmed his determination to rid Colombia of terrorism by eliminating illegal weapons. “Some 90 per cent of crimes in Colombia are committed with illegal, contraband weapons,” he said.

“Terrorists respect no borders—for them, there is no sister state. Instead, they take advantage of any weakness to strengthen themselves,” Uribe stressed, explaining that Colombia is engaged in an all-out war because “the hemisphere needs to regain confidence in us.”

Turning to collaboration with the OAS through the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM), President Uribe cited efforts to fight the illegal crop production and trade.

Secretary General César Gaviria welcomed the President, underscoring the Organization’s readiness to assist Colombia’s peace process. “The OAS understands that peace will be attained little by little in Colombia. It is unrealistic to wait for every single player to be at the table to try to help Colombia’s peace,” he said, adding, “As we all know, these are very complex and very difficult processes. They always come with doubts, hesitation and uncertainty, but we cannot escape our responsibility to help Colombia.”

The Permanent Council’s Chairman, Canada’s Ambassador Paul Durand, cited OAS resolutions supporting Colombia, calling them “clear indications of support to bring about a peace that has hitherto been elusive.”

Reference: E-043/04