Fabrizio Hochschild, UN resident coordinator in Colombia, on Thursday said that confidentiality is an essential element of peace talks between rebel group FARC and the government, if they are to succeed.
The FARC’s supreme commander Timoleon Jimenez, or “Timochenko”, threatened on Wednesday to publish the “truth” about the peace talks after accusing Presdient Juan Manuel Santos of speaking with “serious and irresponsible bias” during a speech before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
Humberto De La Calle, the government’s chief negotiator, on Thursday rejected such a proposal, labelling the notion “frankly incomprehensible.”
“In any negotiation there are always differences between the public rhetoric and what is happening at the table,” said Hochschild at the close of the forum on the issue of illicit drugs in Bogota. “It is essential not to be distracted by political noise.”
The UN official also stressed that “ups and downs are natural” in such a process, adding that what ultimately counts is “what happens at the negotiating table.”
Former Senator Piedad Cordoba, who also participated in the forum, said that political and electoral interests have to be left out of negotiations, so they do not “burst the peace process.”
“These differences cannot break the confidentiality agreement,” the former senator added.
The forum was attended by approximately 1,300 people from different regions of the country, who presented their proposals on the issue of illicit drugs, some of which will be sent to the negotiators of the government and rebel group FARC.
The two delegations have been involved in peace talks since November in order to seek a negotiated end to the internal conflict.
While an accord has been reached regarding land reform, no agreements have been made on the issue of the FARC’s political participation, drug trafficking, the practicalities of the end of the armed conflict and the rights of the victims.