The Colombian government will decide when the time is right to start peace talks with Marxist guerrilla group FARC, President Juan Manuel Santos told the country’s bishops Tuesday.
Santos assured the catholic church’s highest clergies that “the country is comforted and encouraged to know that the catholic church is ready to contribute to whatever initiative when the guerrillas realize that through arms they will only be finding themselves in jail or buried,” the presidential website said.
Santos’ remarks followed statements by Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba who said that “the Catholic church is ready … to act as facilitators if the president permits it.”
“The church — as the state — continues to explore ways and paths to peace,” said Santos. “Rest assured that when we see that the circumstances are right, we will call you to help us achieve this cherished goal,” the president told the religious leaders.
Colombia’s catholic church has traditionally been very involved in the country’s politics and has frequently talked to both government and FARC leaders about the 47-year conflict.