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End of conflict in Colombia gives U.S. a chance to wage peace, not war

To the editor: With all the attention focused on the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis, it is easy to overlook the good news coming out of our own hemisphere: One of the world's longest running conflicts that has raged for more than 50 years in Colombia is nearing resolution. ("U.N. Security Council votes to send hundreds of peace monitors to Colombia if deal is signed," Jan. 25)

The end to decades of violence and insecurity offers a tremendous opportunity to make an investment in Colombia's rural areas and build a viable peace dividend for those who suffered most in the war.

The involvement of the United Nations is essential in facilitating the process of disarmament and implementing the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. But equally important is continued support by the U.S. in providing resources for demobilization, cease-fire monitoring and other key aspects of implementation, while pressing for more effective protection for human rights defenders and the displaced.

Colombia has long been among the largest recipients of U.S. foreign assistance in the western hemisphere, much of it for police and military support. Now is our chance to lead the way in waging peace.

Daniel Speckhard, Baltimore

The writer, a former U.S. ambassador to Belarus and Greece, is president and chief executive of Lutheran World Relief.

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