Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Sep 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Colombians ‘cautiously optimistic’ about peace talks: Pollster

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Colombians are showing “cautious optimism” regarding pending peace talks with guerrilla group FARC, said the director of pollster Ipsos-Napoleon Franco on Sunday after a poll registered a 77% support for the negotiations.

While 77% of Colombians support the peace talks, 41% said to be pessimistic about the outlook of the negotiations leading to the demobilization of the country’s largest and oldest rebel group.

“Colombians show cautious optimism,” Ipsos director Javier Restrepo told news agency The Associated Press. “The people do have the perception that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia aren’t sincere in their attempts for peace, but this perception is less compared to previous processes, especially during the time of ex-President [Andres] Pastrana,” who initiated peace talks with the rebels in 1999, but failed in 2002.

According to the IPSOS poll, published Sunday in weekly Semana, the peace talks have caused a general sense of optimism in the country and have boosted the image of President Juan Manuel Santos.

52% of the 1,012 respondents said Colombia was on the right way. Two months ago, only 32% responded optimistically.

60% of the respondents — 13 percentage points more than two months ago — said to have a positive image of the president.

The Ipsos poll confirms previous polls that showed popular support for the peace talks that are set to begin on October 8 in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.