The chief government negotiator in Colombia’s peace talks with rebel group FARC said on Wednesday that pausing peace talks for the 2014 election cycle has not been discussed at all.
Humberto De La Calle confirmed that there has been no discussion in Cuba, the headquarters for peace talks that have been ongoing since November 2012, on the topic of suspending dialogues with the FARC for the impending congressional and presidential elections.
“The hypothesis of a suspension has not officially been put on the table,” the negotiator asserted at a packed audience at the EAN University in Bogota Wednesday, “nor has the government or President [Juan Manuel Santos] instructed the delegation [in Cuba] to entertain such a hypothesis.”
Despite De La Calle’s insistence that the subject has not been officially debated, unofficially media outlets, the FARC, and the President himself have seemingly discussed it at length over the past two weeks.
Last week, Santos was reported discussing the possibility of suspending talks with his political coalition and the FARC responded to the rumors a day later saying that it would be open to such an idea.
“The government’s position has been and remains that there is a need for an efficient discussion to achieve agreements that meet the expectations of society, not for the government to achieve results quickly,” affirmed De La Calle.
These statements coincided with Santos’ statement on Wednesday saying that he would sacrifice possible reelection if it means achieving peace.
It seems clear that it would be difficult to both run a presidential campaign against candidates who are gaining serious traction in polls and attempt to lead a dialogue with the FARC in Havana that is moving at a snail’s pace.