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Colombia: Captives

Volume 693: debated on Monday 9 July 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make representations to the Government of Colombia regarding the recent proposal for humanitarian exchanges of captives in that country put forward by Justice for Colombia and others; and, if so, how. [HL4571]

My noble friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman, held discussions with a range of senior Colombian civil society figures, UK trade unions and Justice for Colombia on 26 June. The issue of humanitarian exchanges was a prominent theme at the meeting.

At the meeting, my noble friend Lord Triesman drew attention to the G8’s statement of support for President Uribe’s recent decision to release a number of illegal armed group prisoners, and for the ongoing efforts of the French, Swiss and Spanish Governments. He agreed with participants that humanitarian initiatives of this kind offered the potential to contribute to the creation of a lasting path to peace in Colombia.

My noble friend Lord Triesman issued a statement following the meeting, setting out the Government’s views on this issue. The full text is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website at: www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename= OpenMarket/ Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1007029391638 &a= KArticle&aid=1182951887630

We have discussed with Colombian Government representatives in London and Bogota the issues raised at the meeting of 26 June with Colombian civil society, including humanitarian exchanges. In doing so, we have also expressed our outrage at the killings in June of 11 Colombian hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and extended our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy.