Santos opened his speech before the General Assembly referring to the prolonged conflict with the FARC as “absurd.” He also explained that, although his government will not compromise the safety of its citizens, and promises to remain firm against terrorism, in order to “achieve an end to the armed conflict” the government has decided to open dialogue with the guerrillas.
The President admitted to maintaining “exploratory contacts” throughout the past two years with the FARC but has finally decided to go public in order to accomplish a more “concrete agenda.”
The talks will be held in Oslo, Norway and then Havana, Cuba, starting October 8. Santos expressed gratitude for the backing of Chile and Venezuela who will be acting as mediators during the peace talks. The president also thanked the entire international community for their support.
The speech communicated both the optimism that Colombians want to hear, saying that, “it is an opportunity that we cannot waste to reach what is not only good for Colombia, but for our entire region,” but also the pragmatism that is necessary, explaining that, “this process must have short deadlines and concise terms in order to be successful.”
He finished his speech with, “today we present the world — with hope — this new moment for Colombia.”