Colombia’s President Ivan Duque announced Thursday that he will meet with Pope Francis in October to discuss, among other things, the peace process that his party vehemently opposes.
“The idea is to speak about Colombia,” he said. “To discuss the equity agenda of our country and all the plans that we are making from our government in the legal agenda to consolidate peace throughout the territory.”
The October 22 meeting at the Vatican comes one year after the Argentine pope visited Colombia and urged Colombians skeptical of the peace process to be open to reconciliation and forgiveness.
“Undoubtedly, it is a challenge for each of us to trust that those who inflicted suffering on communities and on a whole country can take a step forward,” the pope said last year.
Let us heal that pain and welcome every person who has committed offenses, who admits their failures, is repentant and truly wants to make reparation.
The president’s June elections thrust peace talks with ELN rebels and the execution of the 2016 peace deal with the FARC into uncertainty.
Pope Francis is among a handful of other world leaders to urge Colombian leaders to go forward with the peace process.
In the weeks leading up to Duque’s inauguration, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres pressed the president to continue executing the 2016 deal and address the long history of murders of social leaders in Colombia. But a month into his presidency very little has been done to address the violence.
More details about the meeting with the two leaders are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“It motivates me and makes me very happy for the country,” Duque said. “Obviously it makes me happy as President.”