Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday dismissed the idea of a Christmas truce with FARC guerrillas.
“The sooner we get to a peace agreement, the sooner we will silence the guns,” said the Colombian head of state.
Speaking from Valencia, Spain Santos dismissed rebel calls to order a temporary ceasefire.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon agreed with his boss, saying the armed forces would continue their efforts against Colombia’s largest insurgency, “with total enthusiasm, determination and professionalism.”
Various peace organizations, such as “Colombians for Peace” and “REDEPAZ”, have been arguing for a ceasefire during the Christmas holiday period. Reports also surfaced that FARC’s leadership was open to the idea.
The debate about a ceasefire comes in the midst of the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC rebels. After inaugurating the peace talks in the Norway on October 18, negotiators from both camps have now moved to Cuba. Talks are scheduled to recommence on November 19.
Throughout the entire process, Santos has said he would not permit even a temporary ceasefire. On the contrary, since news of the peace process went public on August 27 the government has pledged an additional $5.7 billion to the 2013 defense budget.