Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Wednesday joined the myriad of international statesmen to express support and hope for Colombia’s forthcoming peace talks.
“I think President Santos deserves the gratitude of all those who want this conflict to end and I think some of the tensions that exist in South America would virtually disappear if FARC and other groups support this process,” Clinton told reporters at UN headquarters in New York City.
The Colombian head of state is due to give a speech to the UN General Assembly today, outlining his hopes for the imminent peace talks with FARC guerrillas. The negotiations, which will begin on October 8, in Norway, are the first serious attempt at dialogue since 2002 when talks failed.
The last effort took place towards the end of Clinton’s second term in office. From 1998 to 2002, then-Colombian President Andres Pastrana engaged in intermittent talks with FARC representatives. While opinion was divided about the true agenda of U.S. policy during the negotiations, the White House officially expressed support for the talks.
“I think this is the best chance we’ve had since then. I have high hopes,” Clinton said today.