Peace delegations from both the FARC and government have been in talks since November to seek an end to the 49-year internal conflict, that according to official figures, has taken 220,000 lives.
Speaking at the inaugural National Congress of Deputies held in the city of Medellin, the head of state stressed how important the will of the Colombian people is in order for negotiations to be successful.
“Peace cannot be built on blood, although that may seem heroic. Peace is built on the will of those people who think alike.”
“There is nothing more important or more urgent than peace, and nothing must convene the will of the Colombian people more,” added Santos.
Santos continued, and stressed the vital role that each member of congress has to play in achieving peace throughout the country.
“We need you to help us to strengthen all institutions in such a way that we have a system capable of resolving conflicts,” he said.
“This is the best time to work with you, esteemed Members, direct representatives of the citizens of Colombia, to make his will, his faith and his effort to the most urgent task and most important of all that we have within our reach: the task of peace,” added the head of state.
Santos concluded by signifying the importance of reaching an agreement with rebel group FARC that will eliminate the risk of a future conflict within Colombian borders.
“Genuine peace, a peace that guarantees non-repetition, a peace that build an environment of reconciliation and to heal the wounds of the confrontation, is always the result of an agreement.”
“Peace agreements are signed with the enemies, not with friends. They are difficult, therefore negotiations are difficult and there are contradictions, that is why we have to walk very carefully and avoid falling into the traps,” explained the head of state.
The FARC and the government have been involved in peace talks since November in order to seek a negotiated end to a conflict that has lasted almost 50 years.
While an accord has been reached regarding land reform, no agreements have been made on the issue of the FARC’s political participation, drug trafficking, the practicalities of the end of the armed conflict, and the rights of the victims.