Letter from a Member of the European Parliament to President Uribe

(Translated by Johanna Aguillon, a CSN volunteer translator )

Brussels, 04 March 2008
Mr. President of the Republic of Colombia
Dr. Alvaro Uribe Vélez
Palacio de Nariño
Santa Fe de Bogota

Mr. President,

After a few days of reflection may I write with regard to the serious incident on March 1st: I am referring to the incursion into Ecuadorian territory perpetrated by aircraft and troops transported by aircraft, with the aim of killing the ‘number two’ FARC, Raul Reyes, his companions and take them along with three computers.
Surely, protest and indignation of the President of the Republic of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and the international condemnation provoked by this violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty totally contrary to the law, will not be surprised, and I think it is with all the awareness of this disapproval that you ordered or stopped committing this act. I have nothing to add on this matter that you did not know already.

I have read very carefully the speech by President Correa, and the "response from its Foreign Minister to the Chancellor of the Ecuadorian government," as well as several articles relating to the contents of the computers.

It is a triple title, His Excellency President, that I would write. As President of the European Parliament delegation for the countries of the Andean Community, as a French citizen, and as an old friend of Colombia and the Colombian people. In addition, I have had the honor several times to meet with you and hear your viewpoint, most recently in Brussels and Bogotá.

As chairman of the delegation to the ANC, I can only express my total lack of understanding when faced with aggression by one country against Colombia brother, and that in the middle of negotiation an association agreement between the Andean Community and the European Union. You assured me, a few days ago, its willingness to negotiate "block by block". How can we talk of block when still a member blocK takes the initiative to launch a military intervention in a foreign territory?

As a French citizen, save the memory of an atrocious war that made my country against the Algerian National Liberation Front, before completing negotiations with him. This war was fraught with international incidents in the same style: the bombing of Sakhiet in Turkey, the diversion of an international flight to catch leaders of the National Liberation Front… These acts discredit both French diplomacy that France lost a war that his military thought Having won on the ground.

No way I would deny the right of the Colombian constitutional government by force of arms to respond to the criminal acts of groups that the European Union itself and maintains registered in the list of terrorist groups: the AUC, the ELN, FARC. But attacking neighbouring countries, and very disturbed by the influx of Colombian refugees, is something quite different.

But there is something more serious – if possible – I mean, the Colombian people, the thousands of abductees and their families, and the possibility of a return to peace in Colombia.
You, Mr. President, publicly adopted a "demilitarized zone" in Florida – Meadow, proposed by the mediators Spanish, Swiss and French, where it could negotiate a humanitarian exchange.

Faced with rejection by the FARC perimeter proposed You had told me: "If you do not want to negotiate in Colombia, to negotiate anywhere, even in the Vatican."

However, several weeks ago that the FARC are releasing increasingly Colombian citizens, senators or representatives. You publicly thanked the mediators who permitted these releases Colombians, releases carrying so much hope.

It is logical that there was a mediation, there was a place for these negotiations, and that if this place was not in Colombia, was then the subject of "agreements" between the FARC territorial temporary, mediators and the authorities of the countries neighbouring Colombia.

It is of public notoriety that only a leader of the magnitude of Raul Reyes could conclude such agreements liberation (Rodrigo Granda, whom you released at the request of President Sarkozy, was in a position too low in the hierarchy of the FARC to take those decisions ).
It has been revealed by one of the computers seized in the camp of Raul Reyes, that the Ecuadorian authorities had made arrangements for at the site, near the border, negotiated the release of the soldier Pablo Emilio Moncayo, the oldest of the prisoners of the FARC, whose only crime was to have defended the constitutional order of their homeland.
Perhaps one day we will know whether the previous releases had been negotiated in the same camp as an agreement or the same style.
What is certain is that by causing the death of Raul Reyes there, the Colombian Armed Forces put an end to negotiations for the release of the soldier Pablo Emilio Moncayo and perhaps many others later. I think particularly in the former Senator Ingrid Betancourt, whose ‘proof of life’ inspire the highest concerns about their health in the short term.

Mr. President, with all due respect I owe, I would remind respect to the logic and humanity. You may not want mediation and kill the negotiators can not call for international solidarity to save their compatriots, and bombard the fraternal countries that provide facilities for negotiations.
I ask you to think for a moment on the following situation: What would have happened if a major mediator, a Colombian bishop, a leader of the Red Cross, a deputy minister or a European mediator, had been that night with Raul Reyes in Camp facilitated by the Ecuadorian authorities? What would have happened if this person had also been killed by a bomb in Colombia? What would have happened if it had been located in the Vatican Raul Reyes in full negotiations with emissaries Swiss? Will would have commanded to bomb the Vatican?
That is why, driven by the concern of his countrymen, I called this, Mr. President, not only to avoid military confrontations that could endanger the lives of the hostages, but to absolutely refrain from any operation against violent negotiators, mediators or emissaries in the search for a humanitarian agreement, either on Colombian soil, and much less soil of another sovereign country.
Reaffirming our commitment to peace in the region,
Yours sincerely
Alain Lipietz


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