Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba and former President Ernesto Samper launched a commission on Tuesday dedicated to promoting prisoner exchange with the FARC, despite opposition from the government, reports El Espectador.
Peace commissioner Frank Pearl said Tuesday that only the president has the authority to make the “small regional humanitarian agreements” proposed by Cordoba and Samper, and that no such deals are being considered by the government.
“The humanitarian issues are a priority but these are complicated when mixed with politics, especially during election time,” Pearl said.
The commission plans to send letters to both the Colombian government and the FARC by this weekend to present proposals for the exchanges.
The document will include a request for the FARC to determine a place where government representatives could meet with the guerilla group to begin planning the proposed exchanges.
The meetings would be held under strict security protocols with international guaranteess.
Cordoba called on the FARC and the government to appreciate the need to end the armed conflict in Colombia.
“I am ready to face the circumstances that may arise in order to be able to say that another Colombia is possible,” said Cordoba.
Frank Pearl accused Senator Cordoba of using the humanitarian exchanges for her own political gain.
“The humanitarian issues should be above politics, because when a person or an organization wants to be a facilitator in humanitarian issues, they cannot use them for politics because they lose credibility and trust,” he said.
“My suggestion is to give priority to humanitarian issues and stop using them to make policy,” Pearl added.