A peace deal with Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC will be agreed on before the end of this year, said President Juan Manuel Santos in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE published Monday.
The president who is trying to get reelected on May 25 said to be convinced he can end the 50-year-long armed conflict if allowed to assume office for the 2014-2018 term that begins on August 7.
“I do not like imposing absolute deadlines, but the dynamics suggests that before the end of the year we could end the five-point agenda from the dialogue with the FARC, the president told EFE.
Santos underlined that, if he were to win the election, he would be able to reach peace, that would include a pact with the ELN.
“It is a challenge that I hope we can address and hopefully we can converge the two processes and end all guerrilla forces in Colombia once and for all,” said the president.
Santos recalled that the government and FARC has agreed on “almost three” issues of the five-issue-long agenda of the FARC peace talks.
“The other two, transitional justice and what has to do with the demobilization and surrendering of weapons, could be completed in the remaining months of this year,” the president told EFE, referring to the talks that began in late 2012.
“We will close the point of drug trafficking in the coming weeks,” Santos stated.
Santos insisted he was hopeful peace will be achieved. “This country can not go back to the 50 years of war. The FARC understands this, there is a political will among them. So I hope that in the course of this year we can finish the complex and important process,” he said.
The president said to comprehend ongoing resistance against the talks, but stressed that peace is not negotiated among friends.
“Of course we are negotiating with enemies. Sometimes people forget that peace is negotiated with enemies. They accuse me of legitimizing enemies, but of course, if you don’t sit down and talk with them you wouldn’t be able to reach any kind of agreement.”
Santos underlined that he, both as defense minister in the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe and later as head of state, has been the toughest in the government’s history with FARC.
“I am ready to return to war if it fails, but what I want is peace,” the president said.
- Santos augura que la paz con las FARC se firmará este año si es reelegido (Efe)
- El ELN se sumaría al proceso de paz con las Farc: Santos (El Caracol)
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