A lead negotiator from the FARC announced Friday that a team of congressmen will be flying to Havana next Wednesday to meet with the rebel group in the midst of its ongoing peace negotiations with the Colombian government.
Guerrilla commander “Jesus Santrich” confirmed a proposed meeting between the FARC and legislative representatives of various political parties in Colombia to discuss a potential referendum on any peace deal resulting from the Havana talks.
President Juan Manuel Santos introduced a bill into Congress last month that would put any agreement reached between the FARC and his government’s negotiators on a ballot referendum in the upcoming national elections next March, where voters would have the ultimate say as to its passage into law.
Congress has yet to vote on the proposal, currently making its way through committee, but the FARC has already come out in strong opposition of a referendum.
In an attempt to argue its case before a vote is held, the FARC extended an invitation last week to congressional leaders, who, after having their visit approved by the Santos government, agreed to participate in a dialogue with the rebel group.
The envoy will consist of leaders of several of Colombia’s congressional blocks, including Senate President Juan Fernando Cristo. It is still unclear whether members of the Conservative Party, among the several parties who oppose the peace talks in general, will take part in the diplomatic mission.
A recent poll conducted by several national news outlets concluded that 45% of Colombians are in favor of a peace referendum, with 63% saying they disapprove of Santos’ handling of the peace process in general.