The FARC’s announcement that they had rejected a secret government proposal to sit down and hold peace talks is nothing but an attempt to discredit Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, said Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia on Tuesday.
Earlier that day the guerrillas had released a press statement announcing that Colombia’s peace commissioner Frank Pearl had secretly offered peace talks in March, but that the rebels refused these talks because the proposal came so soon before the May 30 presidential elections.
Valencia neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the peace proposal, but said the FARC’s statement was part of “a strategy of the FARC to try to say that this government does not provide the possibility for a dialogue, which is not true.”
The minister stressed that ever since Uribe came to office in 2002 his government has kept the door open for peace talks.
Speaking from the UN headquarters in New York, Valencia said that “it is not now that the president proposes this negotiation. He has always been willing.”
Uribe himself did not respond to the FARC’s letter.