The supreme leader of Colombia’s largest insurgent group FARC displayed optimism and confidence just days ahead of potentially historic peace talks with the government, reported Colombian media Monday.
FARC’s commitment to “achieve peace with social justice” remains unchanged, according to guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, aliases ‘Timochenko’ and ‘Timoleon Jimenez’.
“We reached an agreement to establish the negotiating table in order to make way to achieve peace with social justice. Make no mistake, all guerrillas, from newest to oldest, enthusiastically accompany this new attempt,” the senior rebel told Colombian news outlets La FM and RCN Monday.
Timochenko also said of president Juan Manuel Santos. “He has called us to join forces and wills us accordingly to seek a different path to war, to discuss and resolve the conflict in the we live.”
Timochenko confirmed that Tanja Nijmeijer, a Dutch citizen who has been fighting with FARC since 2002, will be part of the guerilla delegation in Oslo this month. He justified the decision saying, “She has a specific task to perform in the development of the talks with the government.”
On the participation of FARC elder Simon Trinidad, who is currently incarcerated in the US, Timochenko said he expected the guerrilla to be involved in the process. “He is an active member of FARC and…We are confident that his presence in the talks will be decisive.”
Representatives from both the Colombian government and FARC are expected to give a news conference Wednesday to inaugurate the latest attempt at peace. The last effort to reach a negotiated peace agreement failed ten years ago.