Bogota, 2 May 2023 (TDI): Josep Borrel, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, was in Colombia from 25-30 April. He represented the EU at the International Conference on Venezuela and held bilateral talks with the President of Colombia.
The High Representative met with representatives from civil society, victims of the armed conflict, and Venezuelan migrants.
Josep Borrel attended the International Conference on Venezuela on 25 April. He applauded the initiative organized by President Gustavo Petro, highlighting the importance of involving regional and international stakeholders while seeking a Venezuelan-led solution.
The High Representative emphasized the EU’s commitment to Venezuela’s democratic transition. He stressed the importance of the electoral observation mission sent by the Union to observe the 2021 elections.
He also highlighted the importance of unblocking the negotiations in México.
High Representative Borrell held bilateral talks with many international political representatives on the sidelines of the conference. The representatives include Jon Finer, Deputy National Security Advisor of the United States, and Celso Amorim, Chief Advisor of the Presidency of Brazil.
The HR also met Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.
As part of the visit, HR Borrel held a significant meeting with President Gustavo Petro. Both leaders discussed the bilateral relationship and the internal situation in Colombia especially in relation to the peace process.
The discussions also touched upon the issue of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the importance of a solution that would ensure Ukraine’s survival and territorial integrity. Both leaders discussed the upcoming EU – CELAC Summit in July in Brussels.
They agreed on making the summit a productive avenue that would open the door for building a common future for the two continents.
HR Borrell commended Colombia on its significant improvement in security since the implementation of the peace agreement of 2016. He reaffirmed the EU’s long-lasting commitment to stand with Colombia for lasting peace.
He stated that the EU is ready to play the role of mediator between the government and the EMC (Estado Mayor Central). EU Special Envoy for the peace process in Colombia, Eamon Gilmore will travel to Colombia in May for the first round of talks.
The EU is also engaged through its Member States Germany, Spain, and Sweden, who accompany the peace dialogues with the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional).
The HR visited the “El Testigo” exhibition, which aims to reprocess the past decades of armed conflicts in Colombia. He met with representatives from civil society, human rights defenders, and victims of the armed conflict.
He also visited the EU-funded center Benposta, where children who have been recruited by armed groups or are at risk find shelter and receive free education.
During his visit to the Escuela Taller de Bogotá, the HR/VP highlighted the significance of Colombia as an important bilateral, regional, and multilateral partner.
Colombia shares values with the EU, such as democracy, the fight against climate change, and social justice.
The HR announced €10 million in support for deforestation reduction efforts, as well as €2 million for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and €3.8 million for victims of armed conflict and gender-based violence.
The HR/VP met with Álvaro Leyva, Minister for Foreign Affairs, followed by a joint press conference. High Representative Borrell reiterated the need to conclude a new Association and Cooperation Agreement that would complement the standing Trade Agreement.
The HR stated that the digital transition is an area of collaboration between the EU and Columbia. He highlighted the role that Global Gateway can have in promoting investment and cooperation.
The High Representative also held bilateral talks with Luis Fernando Velasco, Minister for the Interior, and Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia. He also met with Susana Muhamad, Minister for the Environment.