Higgins reiterates support for Colombia’s peace process

President stresses importance of peace accord between government and FARC

President Michael D Higgins speaking  at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá on Monday, where he read Michael Longley’s poem “Ceasefire”. Photograph: Leonardo Munoz/EPA

President Michael D Higgins speaking at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá on Monday, where he read Michael Longley’s poem “Ceasefire”. Photograph: Leonardo Munoz/EPA

 

President Michael D Higgins said he wants Ireland to be a bridge between the EU and Colombia as he reiterated his support for the peace process.

Mr Higgins spoke of the similarities between the Colombian conflict and Ireland’s own historical conflicts, mentioning land inequality as a driving factor in both wars.

In a keynote address at Bogotá’s National University of Colombia on Monday, the President spoke of the importance of a peace accord between Colombia’s government and its largest rebel group, FARC.

Northern conflict

He referenced the Northern Irish conflict throughout the address.

“We in Ireland understand the difficult and painful choices that peace and reconciliation can entail,” he said . “We also understand and were grateful for support that came to us from our friends at critical junctures on the path to peace.”

Mr Higgins read poet Michael Longley’s poem Ceasefire in English and then Spanish, before talking about his own experience in Colombia in 2010 while part of a parliamentary delegation facilitated by the charity Trócaire.

Tuesday marks the last full day of the visit,when Mr Higgins meets Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos, who was last year awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The two leaders will discuss how Ireland can assist with the peace process, alongside commerce between the two countries.