WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a former Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, made the following statement on the signing later today of a peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC):
“After 52 years of war and more than a quarter of a million lives lost, today brings an end to the longest running armed conflict in the Americas. President Juan Manuel Santos and the Colombian people should take great pride in the many years of courageous work that led us to today. At the same time, the American people should take pride in the role that we have played in supporting the Colombian government over the past 16 years. Since 2000, Democrats and Republicans have worked together to help the Colombian government fight terrorism, push back on the power of drug traffickers, and enhance prosperity in the country. I can think of no better example of the necessity of bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy than Colombia.
“I have visited Colombia several times through the years, and I have seen firsthand the positive impact of our assistance to the country. Just as we have supported Colombia through years of war, we must support it in peace. We cannot forget the lessons of the recent past where we won the war and then, through lack of funding and misplaced priorities, lost the peace.
“Now is the time to remain steadfast in our support for Colombia and make a multi-year commitment to the country. I urge my colleagues in Congress to join me in ensuring that we provide Colombia with the support it deserves in Fiscal Year 2017 and beyond. As we begin to think about the coming year’s budget, our first step must be guaranteeing that Colombia receives the full $491 million that was proposed by the House Appropriations Committee.”