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Last Updated:1/24/02
Excerpts from State Department daily briefing, January 22, 2002

Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 22, 2002

...

QUESTION: Over on Colombia, do you have anything new to say about the status of peace talks there? And does the administration plan to get more actively involved in mediating? I mean, it appears that the UN guy played a fairly prominent role in getting them back to the negotiating table.

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, he did, and that is a role that we welcome and that we support. The UN Special Envoy James Lemoyne, a group of facilitating countries, and the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Stella, played an important role in facilitating the timetable talks, and that is a role that we have supported in the past. We also continue to give our full support to President Pastrana in his continuing peace efforts, and we look to the FARC to fulfill its pledges in good faith and to cease its attacks.

QUESTION: How will you offer the support to -- does that mean you will not be playing the kind of role the UN and these other countries have been playing?

MR. BOUCHER: I think we have expressed our support for that role, expressed our support for President Pastrana. I don't have anything further on any additional US role that we might play.

...

QUESTION: We need to talk about Colombia. I have two questions. I wanted to know what is your opinion about the agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC when you know they are still kidnapping civilians, killing civilians? So what is the US opinion about that?

And my second question is, do you have any information about Colin Powell travel to Colombia and the meeting between President Bush and Colombian President in New York, I think?

MR. BOUCHER: As far as the second, we haven't announced any travel by the Secretary to Colombia, although we made clear at the time of the September 11th bombings, or attacks, that we were not able to go to Colombia at that time and looked forward to the opportunity to do that again in the future. But at this point there have been no announcements.

As far as any meetings the President might have, I'm afraid that's a White House matter. You will have to check with them.

And on the first part of your question, I think I tried to make very clear before that we continue to support President Pastrana's efforts at peace here, and we continue to look to the FARC to carry out its pledges responsibly. And that means not only participating in these talks in good faith, but stopping the attacks, stopping the murders, stopping the kidnapping, stopping the drug trafficking that they have been involved with.

As of January 24, 2002, this document was also available online at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2002/7385.htm
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