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Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether British officials monitored the recent elections in Colombia. (77931)

Our embassy in Bogota consulted with a wide range of civil society and other groups, including EU partners, in observing the lead up to and the conduct of the Colombian presidential elections on 28 May. British officials were not involved in direct election monitoring, nor was there an official EU observation mission. The Organisation of American States followed the election process closely, as did the Centre for Electoral Advice and Promotion (CAPEL), a branch of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. The assessment of CAPEL was that the elections had been conducted in a fair manner. We fully support the EU declaration issued on 31 May 2006, which welcomed the holding of free elections and committed the EU to continue its full support for the democratic, economic and social development and the return to peace in Colombia. The full text of the 31 May EU declaration can be found on the following website: /stu/dm.nsf/dn/dn6F81A8FDE57805BB85257180003 EAA52.