Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of holding a constituent assembly to “seal” an eventual peace deal with rebel group FARC.
In an interview with state radio, Santos said a constituent assembly which would have the powers to redo Colombia’s 1991 constitution is “the beginning, not the end of a process.”
According to the president, holding such an assembly would mean that agreements made by the guerrilla organization and the state could be undone.
“Imagine a constituent that nullifies everything that has been done,” said Santos.
The FARC has proposed a constituent assembly as one of their ten “minimal proposals’ to come to an agreement on the FARC’s political participation, one of five talking points that — if and once agreed — would end the guerrilla organization’s 50-year war against the state.
In a joint statement, the FARC and fellow-rebel group ELN on Tuesday called for such a constituent assembly, which would allow the negotiators of the government and the guerrillas to come to agreements currently beyond constitutional law.
Subsequently, the FARC negotiation team in Cuba asked the government to include the ELN in the peace talks. So far, the government has rejected talks with the ELN, demanding the Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group to first release its hostages.
FARC negotiator Ivan Marquez also proposed to postpone the 2014 elections to prevent electoral interests from hindering possibilities for peace. Santos had proposed the same only weeks ago, but withdrew the idea after strong criticism.
The president previously gave the negotiators a deadline until the end of this year to finish up talks and come to an agreement.