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  • September 26th, 2016

Colombia peace deal shows power of mediation

unsc-approves-mission-to-monitor-peace-dealOn August 24, 2016 an historic peace deal was reached between the FARC rebels and the government of Colombia, after four years of secret negotiations.

The five-decade-long conflict, rooted in Colombia’s unique land distribution and political exclusion of large segments of the population, has killed at least 220,000 people and displaced millions.

Anna Maria Tremonti, host of CBC radio’s The Current, interviewed Norwegian diplomat Dag Nyland, who mediated those secret negotiations. Click on “Inside 4 years of secret negotiations to reach Colombia’s peace agreement” (21 September 2016) for the full interview.

One of the central parts of these peace talks was hearing from victims of the violence.

These were mothers and fathers who had lost their children. These were people that were maimed by anti-personnel mines. These were people that had been subject of kidnappings…. – Dag Nylander

The peace deal was signed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on September 19th, and on October 2nd there will be a referendum on the deal.

Without the support of the Colombian population the peace agreement won’t work. – Dag Nylander

Like the decades long civil war in Colombia, the overwhelming majority of wars end in military stalemate with the underlying grievances still unresolved until they are settled at the negotiating table. Particularly important to successful talks will generally be the assistance of unbiased, expert mediators like Norway’s Dag Nylander.

For much more on “winning the peace”, see “Disarming Conflict: Why Peace Cannot be Won on the Battlefield” by famed peace activist Ernie Regehr (September 2015, Between the Lines publishers).

September 26, 2016 Update:  Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion announces further Canadian support for implementation of the Colombia peace accord.  See: Dion announces further Canadian support (Global Affairs Canada).

Photo credit: UN News photo showing Security Council approval of mission to monitor Colombia peace deal.

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