Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos optimistic about advances made in the talks between representatives of his government and the leftist FARC rebels at the UN General Assembly
The head of state said the negotiations that began nearly two years ago with the FARC – Colombia’s largest guerrilla group – “were a serious, realistic, dignified and effective process,” which has already led to agreements on three of the five main agenda points.
Santos added that he expects progress on the two remaining points, and would give the world the news when the last major guerrilla insurgency in the Western Hemisphere has ended.
During his address, he also noted, that Colombia is “closer than ever” to resolving the conflict with the guerrillas, and he criticized those who oppose the talks, claiming that many on the Colombian right cannot picture a country without “the war that they depend on.”
“There are people who are against peace, who only see war as a way out,” President Santos said.
“This is perhaps because of the fact that without war they lose their power. They have become accustomed to living it, profiting from it and can’t imagine life without it,” he added.
The president went on to say that his government is putting in tireless work to guarantee human rights, justice, truth and reconciliation, and the guarantee that this sort of conflict will never happen again.
He said that, above all, they will work so that there are no more victims of conflict in the country.
Expanding on this point, Santos stated: “I think that for the first time in the history of the world, representatives of the victims are presenting their situation, pain and expectations before the government and rebel negotiators.”
He also spoke of what a post-conflict Colombia might look like, and the challenges the country would face.
“When we arrive in a post conflict period we will have many challenges reincorporating the demobilised combatants, guaranteeing a state presence in the regions affected by the conflict, and guaranteeing citizen security. Support and assistance from the international community will be very important, which, starting now, we are requesting,” the president said.