The United Nations (UN) urged Colombia’s next President, Zuluaga or Santos, to continue peace talks, underscoring that the future of the peace talks shouldn’t depend on the outcome of the elections, Colombia’s Caracol Radio reported.
Fabrizio Hochschild, UN delegate to Colombia, said that he would be very sad for Colombia and for the world, if the outcome of the presidential election would mean the end of the peace talks in Havana with the FARC as well as cancellation of the planned peace talks with the ELN.
“Everyone wants peace in Colombia, it would be very serious and very sad if this opportunity go to waste, we do not interfere in the electoral process but what we say is that whoever is elected president next week, he should continue to build upon the foundations and conclude the negotiations and the conflict,” Hochschild, quoted in the Caracol report.
He also said that Colombia had never been so close to reaching the end of the armed conflict and that the international community both welcomes and supports the peace negotiations and their conclusion.
On Sunday June 15 President Juan Manuel Santos faces the Democratic Center‘s Oscar Ivan Zuluaga in the second round of the country’s presidential elections, where it is determined who will be head of state from August 2014 until 2018.
Zuluaga announced at the end of May that as part of a deal with Conservative power-broker Marta Lucia Ramirez, he would change his previous stance of suspending peace talks if he were elected President. Since then he has campaigned on a stance of “Peace with Justice.”
On Tuesday, less than one week before the presidential election, the Colombian government and the ELN guerrilla group announced the beginning of formal peace talks after two years of on-again, off-again communication between ELN and the government.
Colombia has been in peace talks with the FARC, the largest guerrilla group in Colombia, since November of 2012 in Havana, Cuba. The continuation of the peace talks has been one of the most discussed topics of the campaign so far.