2012-06-20

Colombian President Promises to Continue Combating Armed Groups

During a visit to Costa Rica, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos pledged to continue the fight against illegal armed groups in his country. (Photo: AFP/Rodrigo Arangua)

During a visit to Costa Rica, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos pledged to continue the fight against illegal armed groups in his country. (Photo: AFP/Rodrigo Arangua)

AFP

In Costa Rica on June 15, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos promised to continue combating armed groups in his country without respite, despite the fact that Congress has passed a constitutional reform that could enable future peace negotiations.

“This legal framework for transitional justice (that’s the appropriate name) doesn’t change anything,” Santos responded to whether the initiative, passed by the Colombian Congress on the afternoon of June 14, is a step forward in the peace process.

“The moment we see a true desire by the opposite side to end the armed conflict,” talks could begin, Santos indicated during a brief official visit to Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica, Santos launched negotiations for a bilateral free-trade agreement, together with President Laura Chinchilla.

“Meanwhile, we will continue with the same forcefulness with which we’ve been operating against those illegal armed groups that have turned to terrorism in order to achieve their objectives,” he promised.

The initiative, which his administration promoted, introduces the possibility of granting benefits such as suspending [jail] sentences for guerrilla leaders in the event that they demobilize, and proposes measures for reparations and access to the truth for victims.

President Chinchilla praised the initiative, and when she was asked whether her country would support a dialogue mechanism, Santos intervened and judged that “that’s a problem for Colombians, which we Colombians have to resolve.”

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