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2005-12-14 23:33:00
Embassy Bogota
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142333Z Dec 05
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BOGOTA 011620 


E.O. 12958: N/A




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) President Alvaro Uribe Velez and Peace Commissioner
Luis Carlos Restrepo made the following statements at a press
conference at the Presidential Palace on December 13, 2005,
regarding the decision by the GOC to accept the international
commission's proposal to create a 65 square mile "security
zone" in Valle de Cauca Department. The proposed security
zone would be the location of GOC-FARC talks on a
"humanitarian exchange" of hostages for FARC prisoners. As
reported in reftel, the FARC has not yet replied to the

2. (U) Begin informal Embassy translation of Uribe's remarks:

Please allow me to offer a response to this proposal made by
France, Switzerland and Spain.

As Dr. Luis Carlos Restrepo has summarized (referring to
Peace Commissioner Restrepo's brief summary of the proposal),
we have selected a small town in a rural zone as a potential
site for the hostage exchange talks. The town is called El
Retiro, and it is approximately 180 square kilometers in
size. There are 30 families living in the town. The three
European countries (France, Switzerland, and Spain) demand
that for the duration of the negotiations, as well as for
seven days prior and seven days after their conclusion,
neither the Colombian Armed Forces nor the armed guerillas
will be allowed to enter the zone. Only FARC representatives
attending the negotiations will be permitted.

The Colombian Government accepts this proposal. I humbly
admit that this implies a concession on the part of the
Government over which I preside. I take responsibility for
this decision. We accept this modification to our
traditional position because we trust the international

We accept this modification because the international
community has guaranteed that neither the Army nor the
guerrilla forces will be present. We accept this proposal
because during the days of the meetings, in place of the
Army, there will be 40 international observers. And we trust
the international community.

We accept this proposal because it does not injure our

sovereignty, and it does not put our countrymen at risk. We
accept it because Democratic Security is finally on the path
toward reconciliation. We accept because we want to respond
to the anguish, the pain, and the suffering of many Colombian
families who have had their relatives kidnapped.

We also accept this proposal because the country is going to
continue on the path toward total reconciliation. We pay our
respects to Jaime Lozada, the former governor of Huila, who
was murdered. This agreement honors his leadership in favor
of a humanitarian agreement.

That is all at this time, esteemed countrymen.

End informal Embassy translation of Uribe's remarks.

3. (U) Begin text of Peace Commissioner Restrepo's remarks
(during his statement, he referred to maps projected on a
large screen):

The National Government has received from the governments of
France, Switzerland and Spain, the proposal of a system of
security for a humanitarian meeting in the Central
Cordillera. This proposal has been submitted today
simultaneously to the Government and to the FARC.

The proposal consists of the results of a technical
exploratory mission, the proposal concerning a site for the
meeting: El Retiro, in the municipality of Pradera (Valle de
Cauca), the system of security surrounding the site of the
meeting, areas of security, points of observation and paths,
duration of the international observation and the role of the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The proposal has been formally submitted through the Swiss
Federal Department of External Affairs, in the name of Spain,
France and Switzerland, both to the Colombian Government and
to the FARC, and is the result of a technical exploratory
mission that was in the Colombian territory and advanced its
work in the Central Cordillera between November 28 and
December 2, 2005.

Spain, France and Switzerland propose a system of security
that permits the Government and the FARC to find themselves
directly in optimum conditions. They propose to guarantee
the security of the negotiators, with its political
commitment and physical presence. They do not prejudge the
duration, form or content of the negotiations, and they are
looking to give confidence to the parties and to the
different sectors of Colombian society.
The Commission,s suggested site for the meeting is the
hamlet El Retiro, in the municipality of Pradera (Valle del
Cauca). It is a place located approximately 15 kilometers
from the urban area of Pradero. The characteristics: 30
families live there. There is a church in good condition, a
school with 5 classrooms, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms,
a community center, a health station, a football field that
permits the landing of helicopters, electricity, water and
telephone. It is 1,600 meters above sea level and is split
from 1,200 meters in Potrerito to 2,800 meters in Bolo Azul.
This is the commission,s suggested site as a place for the
meeting, El Retiro, and here we have the urban center of

As well, the commission suggests a system of security
surrounding the site of the meeting, comprised of areas of
security. The first area is in the east of Pradera, from the
Potrerillo bridge over the Bolo River, to the line along the
Central Cordillera. A second area to the east of Florida,
from the exit of La Diana, to the north of the road to La
Diana, El Caleo, La Palmera, Sina, including the road. And
a third area to the east of the line, that separates the
department of Valle (of Cauca) from the department of Tolima,
an area of two kilometers wide along the municipalities of
Pradera and Florida, to the mountain path situated on the
road without leaving Florida ) Herrea ) Chaparral.

Here we have the proposed areas of security, here we have
Pradera, here we have Potrerito, this is the Bolo river, that
reaches the area of the Central Cordillera. This is the
second area of security, that parts from La Diana, passes
through Los Caleos and reaches Sina. And here we have the
third area of security, at the boundary between the
departments of Valle (of Cauca) and Tolima, two kilometers
over Tolima, bordering the Pradera and Florida.

As well, as part of the system of security around the site of
the meeting, observation sites will be installed, some
observation sites on the roads to control access: Potreito,
the bridge of the main road and the secondary road, El Retiro
at the crossing of the two roads, La Diana at the eastern
exit in the direction of Los Caleos, and the farm Las Tablas
between Palmera y Sina.

And also some observers at strategic points, at Los Negros,
on the road to La Carbonera, at the La Campia farm near
Boloazul, at La Virgen farm in Tolima, and at Norales farm,
also in Tolima.

Here we have the points of control on the roads, here we have
the one of Potreito, of El Retiro in Los Negros, of Palmera
and here we have the one of La Diana.

As well, here we have the observation points suggested by the
commission. Here these two points are in Tolima. As well,
the commission considers it important to take into account
the control of some paths on the route between Florida and
the department of Tolima, a path that goes from La Diana to
the projected road on the Florida ) Herrera ) Chaparral
route, another point between Pradera and Florida, that is a
trail that joins Bolo Azul and the site called Norales, and a
third track between Pradera and the department of Tolima,
that is a trail from Bolo Azul to the site known as La Virgen.

Here we see the tracks and the crossings that the commission
considers important to control. Here we have the one that
goes from La Diana, goes to the Los Norales site and this is
a trail that goes towards La Herrera. Here we have the
second that goes from Los Norales to Bolo Azul and the third
that is from Bolo Azul to the La Virgen lagoon.

It is proposed that the coordination of the observers, in the
first instance considered to total 40, would be set up in the
El Retiro hamlet, and the coordinator of the observers would
be in coordination with the political organ of the three
countries, set up in El Retiro. He would also be in
coordination with the Colombian Armed Forces and with the

The three countries textually suggest in their proposal that
the troops must remain on the outside of the boundaries of
security. That is to say, within the area of security, the
presence of neither troops from the Colombian Public Force,
nor the armed guerrillas of the FARC. Only the Government
negotiators and the guerrilla group will be permitted to

The international observation is established seven days prior
to the commencement of the meeting and seven days after the
end of meeting. The countries will leave the decision as to
the duration of the meeting to the parties.

The International Committee of the Red Cross guarantees the
air or land movement as much to the FARC as to the Government
delegates, protects the places of negotiation with the
emblems of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and
maintains a permanent presence of its officials at the El
Retiro site.

This is basically the proposal. If you wish simply to review
the maps, let,s look again at the security map: this is the
zone. We have here a first border of security in the Pradera
zone, a second border of security in the Florida rural zone
and this third border of security on the boundary of Tolima.
The area included inside the borders of security is
approximately 180 square kilometers.

Thank you.

End informal Embassy translation of Restrepo's remarks.

4. (U) The text of the proposal to which Uribe and Restrepo
refer in their remarks, and other information related to this
announcement, can be found in Spanish at