The liberal representatives said they would fully support President Juan Manuel Santos, should he take the decision to initiate a dialogue with the left-wing rebels.
The party’s national director, Simon Gaviria, said the party also supported the ongoing FARC-government peace talks and expressed hopes that a similar process could be initiated with the ELN.
“We consider that all the efforts in this respect are fundamental to guarantee the termination of the conflict in our country. The Colombian people are tired of the war. It is [necessary] to keep betting on peace,” Gaviria said.
Two weeks ago, when ex-presidents Alvaro Uribe Velez (2002-2010) and Andres Pastrana (1998-2002) criticized Santos’ handling of the peace process, the Liberal Party put its unconditional support behind the current president.
Both Pastrana and Uribe tried to reach a solution to the Colombian armed conflict. The former failed with the San Vicente del Caguan peace talks with the FARC between 1998 and 2002, while the latter pursued a security offensive which succeeded in pushing back the guerrillas to Colombia’s peripheral regions, but failed to break the backbone of the rebels.
Santos has said he would like to see peace talks with the ELN “sooner rather than later,” while the rebels have likewise continually reiterated their desire to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Concerns have arisen, however, about the possibility of some ELN rebels eschewing peace talks in favor of a continued armed struggle. On March 21, the Venezuelan National Assembly representative, Leomagno Flores, said some ELN rebels on Venezuelan territory may want to keep fighting instead of seeking peace with the Colombian government, using Venezuelan territory to continue the insurgency.
- Liberales respaldan eventual diálogo de Santos con el ELN (El Espectador)
- Liberales apoyan posible diálogo con el Eln (El Tiempo)