COLOMBIA NEWS – The Colombian government resumed its path toward peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on June 16, bolstered by President Juan Manuel Santos’ victory in a run-off election seen as a referendum on his bid to end the 50-year-old conflict.

Santos picked up 50.95% in the run-off election against Óscar Iván Zuluaga on June 15, validating his insistence on continued negotiations with the FARC – the country’s largest terrorist group – and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN).

Santos has staked his presidency on a negotiated peace accord with the FARC.

“One of my government’s goals from now on is to teach a lot more often about peace, about the benefits of peace,” Santos said. “I think if I can explain [details of the potential peace deal] well enough, that anybody who did not vote for me [on June 15] will end up wanting peace, and will say yes to me.”

Santos said voters made it clear they want him to reach a peace accord with the FARC.

“What happened was a clear sign, a mandate,” he added. “The mandate we heard [with the election results] means it’s time to put life and soul into the process and get it done.”

Sources: Presidency of Colombia, El Tiempo, Terra Notícias (Colombia)