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Last Updated: Monday, 30 June, 2003, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Colombia unveils security plan
President Alvaro Uribe (centre)
Uribe's strategy is popular, but he has little time to implement it
President Alvaro Uribe has unveiled plans to end almost 40 years of civil war in Colombia - including measures to combat the drugs trade, which fuels the conflict.

President Uribe's long-awaited policy for defence and democratic security sets out to tackle left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries that between them dominate about 40% of the country.

"We want to end this war, not to diminish its intensity. We are going to achieve this by striking terrorist organisations on the military, economic and judicial field," said Defence Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez on Sunday, who was in the village of Orito in one of Colombia's most violent areas.

Security is not principally law enforcement. It is the permanent and effective presence of democratic authority throughout the territory, the product of a collective effort by all members of society
Security document

The president received a boost when he made his announcement as the army seized 2.5 tonnes of cocaine down by the Pacific coast in the town of Tumaco worth an estimated $300m.

According to the authorities, the cocaine was camouflaged in an underground cache.

During the army's operation, five people were detained and pistols and several million pesos in cash were seized.

Warring factions

The key point of the new peace plan is the establishment of police forces in all parts of the country.

Colombian coca paste vendors
Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of cocaine

Over the years, the guerrillas have driven police out of certain areas and the president is now seeking to reverse that process.

As well as aiming to defeat the warring factions, the government also wants to destroy all drug crops in Colombia - one of the main sources of revenue for the illegal armies - and end the scourge of kidnapping in a country where one abduction is reported every four hours.

The president's tough strategy has won him 60% approval ratings.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Medellin says Mr Uribe faces two major problems in implementing his strategy: money, as the state coffers are empty, and time, as his mandate only runs until 2006 and he is constitutionally barred from a second term.

Our correspondent reports that the guerrillas have decided to retreat to their mountain and jungle strongholds - they have already seen 10 presidents come and go and are prepared to wait until Mr Uribe leaves power.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott
"It's a very ambitious document"

Q&A: Colombia's civil conflict
06 May 03  |  Americas
Colombia's coca crops drop
18 Mar 03  |  Americas
Country profile: Colombia
23 May 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Colombia
07 May 03  |  Country profiles

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