My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, met Colombian Foreign Minister Araujo on her recent visit to UK. Although the specific issues of investigations into Colombian paramilitary organisations' links with Colombian parliamentarians and Senator Alvaro Araujo were not raised, the two ministers discussed issues of bilateral importance such as the peace process, justice and peace law, counter-narcotics cooperation, President Uribe's plans for his second term and EU/Community of Andean Nations Association agreements. It was a positive first meeting in which both sides agreed to maintain and build on the close bilateral working relationship.
UK policy towards Colombia is one of constructive engagement. We support the efforts of President Uribe to tackle the interconnected problems of internal armed conflict, illegal drugs trade and human rights abuses. In this meeting, and in our regular dealings with the Colombian authorities, we impress on them the importance of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. We will continue to monitor the issue of the alleged links between paramilitaries and parliamentarians in Colombia closely.