Colombia’s government and rebel group FARC will continue peace talks despite a crisis spurred by a rebel attack that killed 11 soldiers, the government’s chief negotiator said Monday.
Chief negotiator Humberto De La Calle confirmed in a speech following Monday’s negotiations that they will not desist in the midst of a reignited armed conflict caused by the attacks.
“[The FARC] have fractured the hope of [Colombian citizens]. But when hope is broken we turn to a moment of faith. All of this overwhelming national energy should be directed at one goal: to continue the pursuit of ending this conflict,” said De La Calle.
De La Calle expressed his condolences to the victims of the attack, furthermore reiterating that he recognizes how the violence affects the Colombian people as much as it does those on either side of the conflict.
“Current indignation is not a media phenomenon….The problem with the FARC is now with the people. Not the military. Not what they call the oligarchy. Not the politicians. It is with the people,” said De La Calle.
President Juan Manuel Santos approved bombings against the FARC the day after the attacks against the military. But despite the heightened delicacy, De La Calle expressed confidence that an agreement could still be met.
“A cessation…has to be serious, it must be verifiable, and it must be agreed upon by the Bureau under the terms of the General Agreement, which is what we are currently working on with the Technical Subcommittee,” said De La Calle.
In order to provide balance and perspective to the situation, De La Calle mentioned the importance of understanding that the FARC are not the only ones to blame.
“We must recognize all those responsible…All stakeholders have to look in the face of victims, and then strive to repair, ensuring that serious crimes are not repeated,” said De La Calle.
He insisted that it is of utmost importance that the two negotiating teams continue to maintain a dialogue in Cuba, as the alternative would be the continuance of a conflict that has lasted over half a century, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands.
The FARC and the government have been talking to end the conflict since November 2012.