Ex-president denies authorizing Santos to meet Raul Reyes

Former Colombian President Andres Pastrana said Thursday that during his government Juan Manuel Santos was not authorized to meet with FARC leader alias “Raul Reyes.”

According to Pastrana, Santos had the chance to meet with the FARC guerrilla leader Raul Reyes as a member of an independent truth commission, but was never authorised to have a personal meeting.

Pastrana also said that the other meeting Santos mentioned, in Costa Rica in 1997, happened during the presidential administration of Ernesto Samper.

Santos admitted Wednesday that he had met with the FARC leader in 1997 in Costa Rica to discuss demilitarizing a region in southern Colombian, and then later in the El Caguan demilitarized zone during the Pastrana government (1998-2002), and that the second meeting occurred with the full blessing of the Colombian government led by Pastrana.

Pastrana pointed to an opinion piece written by Santos in newspaper El Tiempo on September 4, 1998, which discussed the concept of a Colombian peace commission that would negotiate with all political groups, including guerillas. Pastrana said that Santos’ ideas in the column were purely his own, and had nothing to do with his administration.

Santos was treasury minister during the Pastrana administration.

Pastrana’s statement can be read in its entirety here.

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