Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has announced plans to speed up the peace talks between his government and the FARC rebel group just two days after the first round of the country’s presidential elections round, national network Blu Radio reported.
The interview comes two days after the incumbent president came runner up in the Colombia’s presidential elections, which failed to give any of the five candidates an overall majority and has poised Santos against opponent Oscar Ivan Zuluaga — staunch critic of the peace talks — in a second round run-off.
|“Subdivide the negotiating team in two fronts so that the two remaining issues can be discussed simultaneously”|
The Colombian government has been negotiating with the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, since November 2012. However, the possibility of Zuluaga’s victory in the the second round of elections on June 15 poses a threat to the peace talks.
Santos, speaking in an interview on Blu Radio, said that he is considering to propose to divide the FARC negotiating teams to accelerate the ongoing process in Cuba that seeks a negotiated solution to the 50-year armed conflict.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
Speaking to Blu Radio, Santos said that he may plan to, “subdivide the negotiating team in two fronts so that the two remaining issues can be discussed simultaneously. That would save us time and we could end sooner.”
“It will guarantee peace: It is no certain there will be impunity. International treaties prohibit it, our conscience prohibits it, and the victims prohibit it,” he continued.
In his post-election speech, President Santos was quick to consolidate his campaign after his loss to Zuluaga in Sunday’s first round by trying to bring focus back to his government’s ongoing peace talks and the possiblity of the armed conflict’s end.
The President stated that the second round would show the difference between “those who want the war to end and those who prefer the war without end.”
The peace talks currently taking place in Havana have reached agreements on three agenda items: land and rural development policy, demobilized guerrillas and, most recently, illicit drug involvement.
There now remains the discussion on victims of the conflict, and demobilization and abandonment of weapons, before finally reaching the countersignature and implementation of the final agreement.
In a video released by the FARC on Monday, top commander Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, alias “Timochenko” stated that,“We know well that the only thing that the elite classes are expecting of us is a humble surrender […] but at the negotiating table our aspirations are completely different.”
The next round of elections will take place on June 15 in one of the most hotly contested elections in the past decades.