Colombian Government to Seek Peace Talks with FARC
By Dialogo August 29, 2012
On August 27, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that his government conducted “exploratory conversations” ahead of possible peace talks with the FARC communist guerrillas, in arms for almost 50 years, and the results will be known in the coming days.
“From the first day in my government I have complied with the constitutional obligation to seek peace. Exploratory conversations with the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] to seek an end to the conflict have been developed”, Santos said in a televised address to the nation.
The president pointed out that the Colombian Military Forces would not cease their operations nor will they reduce their presence in the national territory while carrying out contacts with the guerrillas.
Also, he said he knew the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla was interested in participating in these “conversations aimed at ending the violence” and were open to participating in a possible dialogue.
Santos said one of the basic premises is that “any process must lead to the end of the conflict, not its extension.”
The president did not specify the location of the conversations or who participated in them. He simply said, “In the coming days the results of the rapprochement with the FARC will be announced.”
Versions leaked by the press indicated that contacts have taken place in Cuba, with Venezuelan participation, and that they would continue the next stage in Norway beginning in October.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre, said that Colombia “must move toward a peace process.”
In recent years, the guerrilla has lost territorial control and has seen the fall of its top leaders, Mono Jojoy and Alfonso Cano, but it is still very active in certain areas of Colombia, with new strategies of bomb attacks and causing havoc among the civilian population.
Daniel García Peña, former Peace Commissioner from 1995 to 1998, said, “Both the government and the FARC have realized that continuing the war is meaningless.”
The last peace talks, which ended in a guerrilla demobilization, was the April 19 Movement (M-19) in 1990, while the latest process with the FARC was developed for nearly four years until their breakup in February 2002.
I agree with President Juan Manuel Santos that it is necessary to seek peace for Colombia It is good for the Colombian people that their authorities and the guerrillas took the decision, as intelligent beings, of beginning peace talks, because this war causes delays in their economic and social development, and I am happy about the Colombian brothers. Al result of the internal conflict, they seek refuge in other countries, especially Ecuador, causing more problem to other countries and to themselves. Hopefully it is a dialogue of consensus and not of popularity and sensationalism but of truth and at heart.