Juan Fernando Cristo

Colombia’s Senate President rejected the notion that Colombia should placate the United States by releasing the terms of preliminary peace legislation to the North American ally, in a statement released late Monday. 

Responding to calls from other congressmen to assure the United States that human rights violators from the FARC rebel group would not receive immunity as part of an eventual peace deal to emerge from ongoing negotiations between the government and the country’s oldest rebel group, Senate President Juan Fernando Cristo said the idea that the United States should be allowed to put conditions on the workings of Colombian government “left a bad taste” and that allowing Washington to dictate the peace process would create a “bad precedent,” according to radio station, Caracol Radio.

Various colleagues of Cristo in the Colombian Congress had expressed fears earlier Monday that providing guerrillas already deemed guilty of crimes against humanity with the prospect of immunity would lead the United States to consider withdrawing foreign aid from the country, which has amounted to at least $380 million each of the last five years.

MOREColombia Congress wants to assure US FARC will not receive immunity

Cristo said that while US aid will remain a necessary source of support for the Colombian government, even in a theoretical post-conflict scenario, it’s important that it come without conditions.

“They have to let Colombia advance in an independent way, and autonomously in its peace process,” said Cristo.

“[Furthermore, these talks] are not contemplating that there would be amnesty, this remains clear from the start, they are familiar with the judicial framework for peace,” the Senate president added.

Since the implementation of Plan Colombia, a sweeping aid package brokered between the United States and Colombia in the late 1990′s, the North American country has given Colombia over $9 billion in aid, primarily directed to Colombia’s ongoing fight against leftist insurgencies, such as the FARC.


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