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Last Updated:6/22/01
The Conditions Are Given For The Encounter Zone: Ambassadors, May 15, 2001

Bogotá, D.C., May 15 2001 (ANCOL).

The group of Country Friends and Verifiers to the dialogue process between the Government and the ELN, considered today that the necessary conditions for the establishment of the "Encounter Zone" are given. The International community also called upon the parts in conflict (Government and ELN) to overcome the difficulties and start the negotiation process.

"The group of Country Friends and the group of Verifier Countries consider that the Government hasthe commitment and the necessary basis to overcome the existing difficulties and, in common agreement with the ELN, establish the "Encounter Zone" in the South of Bolivar as soon as possible," stated a declaration read by the Ambassador of Spain and Coordinator of the Country Friends Commission, Yago Pico de Coaña, at the end of a meeting headed by President Andres Pastrana.

During the meeting celebrated in the Nariño House the ambassadors reiterated their support for the peace process with the ELN and described themselves willing to support any initiative that looks after this objective and collaborate with the development programs for the population of the region.

The group of Country Friends-- made up by Switzerland (Suiza), France, Cuba, Norway and Spain-- reiterated their willingness to attend, with the pertinent discretion, the demands of the parts. On the other hand, Michael Frulin, Ambassador of Sweden and coordinator of the Verification Commission- made up by Germany, Canada, Japan and Portugal-- considered the presence of the International Community in the possible "Zone" as a guarantee for the respect of the regulation established for the zone. "This is a very important ingredient for the establishment of an Encounter Zone with clear game rules where the negotiations can be carried out between the Government and the ELN and the process can advance," he said.

The meeting was attended by the all the ambassadors of the 5 Country Friends and of the5 from theVerification Committee, the High Peace Commissioner, Camilo Gomez, the SubCommissioner, Jorge Mario Eastman and the Ministers of Defense and Development and the Armed Forces commanders.

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