Colombia’s defense minister said Sunday that, while the government reportedly is holding preliminary peace talks with the FARC, his only instruction is to “tirelessly beat terrorism and drug trafficking.”
According to radio station Caracol, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said that the possibility of seeking peace with the FARC is an issue that is the exclusive responsibility of the president.
Former President Alvaro Uribe and several media have claimed that a commission composed by President Juan Manuel Santos has begun preliminary peace talks with the country’s largest and oldest guerrilla group in Cuba.
However, according to Pinzon this is not of his concern and that the explicit instruction he has received from the president is to maintain the military pressure on illegal armed groups.
While receiving broad criticism on an increase in rebel attacks, the defense minister claimed the war against groups like the FARC and ELN is going well and that the number of combat kills have gone up 25% this year. The increase in attacks is due to the rebels “despair,” claimed Pinzon.