A senior official of the US State Department has predicted that the presidential elections in May will slow down the peace process in Colombia, reported W Radio Thursday.
The official, who requested anonymity, told W Radio that “Realistically, in an election year, with elections for half of the year, it will be difficult to complete the peace process before the elections.”
However, the US official told the Colombian Radio that if peace talks came to a pause during the presidential election, it would be a natural process and that no one should lose hope.
“Sometime, I think there will be a suspension of talks until after election. I think that would be natural. If that does not happen and continue talking, the better, but if it happens, I do not think anyone should lose hope [in the process],” he said.
The US official also applauded the parties for staying committed to the process, but added that they have “avoided the hard points on the agenda.”
He concluded that “while Colombians can not be optimistic in surveys about ongoing dialogue, it is very clear in saying that they want the process triumph of peace.”
The first round of this year’s peace talks started on January 13 and is currently addressing the issue of illicit drugs in Colombia. Agreements has been made on political participation and land issues during the 2013 peace talks.