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MP in cross-party peace drive in Colombia

SINN Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Murphy, is currently in Cuba as part of an all-party delegation from the Province organised by Justice For Colombia, with the help of Colombians for Peace and the Congressional peace commission.

The purpose of the trip is to support the current Colombian process between the Government and FARC representatives and as a follow on from the November 2012 JFC trip which visited Colombia and met with President Juan Manuel Santos and members of the Colombian negotiation team.

During his time in Cuba Mr Murphy will be meeting with FARC negotiators and sharing the valuable experiences of the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

Speaking from Cuba, the local MP said: “This trip has been organised by the Justice for Colombia group and follows on from an earlier meeting in Colombia aimed at  sharing  peace-building and negotiation experiences from the Good Friday Agreement.

“Late last year a similar exchange was held with politicians, trade unions and other sections of civil society.

“During our very informative learning about the Colombian conflict we shared the experiences and lessons learned from the Irish peace process.

“During this visit the cross-party delegation will be the first international public delegation to meet with the FARC since the peace process began.

“Dialogue and sharing our experience is important. While one peace process cannot be simply transplanted to another situation, there are undoubtedly valuable lessons that can be learned for the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent negotiations.

“The timing of the trip is especially important, as only last week parties to the Colombian conflict have advanced their own peace process through reaching an initial agreement on land issues.

“We hope that, though talking to all participants of this particular conflict, we can impress how central dialogue is to the process.”

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