Colombia’s Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera Salazar on Monday called on UNASUR not to talk to the FARC. “One doesn’t talk to terrorists. You can’t imagine what could happen if any international arena opened its doors to Osama Bin Laden,” the minister said.
Rivera Salazar asked the the international community not “to play along with the guerrillas,” arguing that the FARC are only seeking talks with UNASUR in order to win a respite from the conflict.
He restated the government’s position that it will not hold negotiations with the guerrillas until they demonstrate a clear commitment to peace.
The minister’s comments follow Monday’s statement by the FARC, Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, that it wants to state its position on the country’s long-running armed conflict before UNASUR, in the hope that the regional body will help mediate a solution.
Ecuador, current holders of UNASUR’s rotating presidency, turned down the request.
The guerrilla group claimed it was determined “to seek a political solution” to its war with the Colombian state.
This is the second conciliatory move the FARC has made towards the administration of Juan Manuel Santos, after the rebels’ supreme leader “Alfonso Cano” in July proposed dialogue to the incoming president.
“Peace with social justice, not war, has been the strategic objective of the FARC since its foundation in 1964,” the guerrillas claimed in their call for talks with UNASUR.