Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday he is willing to mediate peace talks between the Colombian government and Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC, whose leader proposed to resume talks on Monday.
During a speech before Venezuela’s National Assembly, Chavez said that “we want peace in Colombia and are willing to help looking for a peace deal in Colombia is they ask us to.”
While denying he wants to “interfere in internal matters,” Chavez said his government “will monitor statements of both” the FARC and the administration of Juan Manuel Santos.
While appearing before Venezuela’s highest legislative body, Chavez reiterated that he “really never have aided the Colombian guerrilla,” something he has frequently been accused of by Santos’ predecessor Alvaro Uribe.
FARC leader “Timochenko” said his guerrilla group wants to “resume the agenda that was left hanging in El Caguan,” where the rebels and government held peace talks between 1999 and 2002.
Santos rejected the offer, saying that, “We don’t want more rhetoric, the country asked for clear actions of peace,” referring to the government’s position that the FARC release all hostages held by the guerrilla group before peace negotiations can begin.
The FARC has been fighting the Colombian state since the rebel group’s foundation in 1964.