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                     Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                       May 20, 1999


Colombian Peace Process

We are heartened by the significant progress made this month in the effort to create a lasting peace for Colombia. We commend President Pastrana for his strong personal commitment to peace and for his tremendous courage in pursuing it. And we applaud the determination of the Colombian people to support a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Successful peace negotiations are the best way to advance our shared goals: economic advancement for all the Colombian people, greater regional security, respect for human rights and justice, and effective curbs on drug trafficking.

As we support these peace efforts, we remain determined that American citizens who have been abducted in Colombia be released, and that those responsible for killing Americans be brought to justice, including those FARC members responsible for the March 4 murders of Terence Freitas, Ingrid Washinawtok, and Leheenae Gay. We also renew our call on the FARC to come forward with a complete account of the missing New Tribes Missionaries, Dave Mankins, Mark Rich, and Rick Tenenoff, whom it kidnapped over six years ago.

We call on all sides in Colombia's conflict to end attacks on civilians, to seek to resolve the many outstanding cases of kidnapping of people of all nationalities, and bring about the safe return of the victims.