Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday assured he wants peace for his country but rapprochement with guerrilla groups will have to come at the right time and without foreign intervention.
At a Legislative Forum for Peace in Bogota, attended by representatives from around the world, Santos reiterated his commitment for peace, but disallowed any foreign government or Colombian to seek channels of dialogue with guerrillas without authorization from Bogota.
He said that when the time is right, the government will seek rapprochement with these groups.
“I have said and reiterated: I do not believe anyone should try to establish parallel channels to find a dialogue with the guerrillas. And I do not authorize any attempt in that direction. When we consider that the moment is right and the opportunity is there, then we will open this opportunity, in the form that we believe it should be to achieve the objective. This I want to leave very clear,” said Santos.
The president referred to foreign interests to intervene in the tense relations between Colombia and Venezuela just after he took office. “I thanked them. I said thanks but no thanks. Let me handle this. I searched for the manner and I searched for the opportunity … And it showed result. And I believe it turned out for the good of both countries and for the good of the region,” said the head of state.
French Ambassador to Colombia, Pierre-Jean Vandoorne, commended Santos at the forum for recognizing Colombia’s armed conflict saying it “was courageous to recognize the conflict that has plagued his country for various decades.”
The Victims Law will reach its final debate in the Senate Tuesday after being postponed last week due to attendance issues.