Bogotá (ICRC) – The Colombian delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) would like to provide the following clarifications:
1. On Thursday, 18 February 2016, at the request of the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army (FARC-EP), and with the involvement of the mediator nations, Cuba and Norway, the ICRC transported a group of FARC-EP representatives from Cuba to a rural area in La Guajira department in a helicopter bearing the ICRC emblem.
2. The ICRC carried out the transport at the express request of both parties – the Colombian government and the FARC-EP. They trusted the ICRC to act as a neutral intermediary and maintain the highest level of confidentiality and professionalism.
3. Because the ICRC is neutral, it is not involved in any political decisions that might be taken as part of the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP. The ICRC's role in transporting the peace negotiators is therefore limited to logistical support and has no bearing on the negotiators' activities during such visits.
4. Since the Colombian government's announcement that it was suspending the FARC-EP negotiators' visits to Colombia, the ICRC has been waiting for the parties to agree on transporting the negotiators back to Cuba at a time that is convenient to both sides.
5. The ICRC's interests are strictly humanitarian, not only in Colombia but also in the more than 80 other countries where it operates. Alleviating the suffering of victims of armed conflict is the only motive for acting as a neutral intermediary in the peace process. For that reason, the ICRC will continue offering its good offices based on its non-negotiable principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.
For further information, please contact:
Édgar Alfonso, ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 311 491 07 89
Elodie Schindler, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 32 51