Thursday marks three years since the official start of the talks in Havana, Cuba. They have taken longer than expected but many things have been achieved and the negotiations are due to conclude on 23 March 2016.
However, there is some fear that they could still fail altogether if and when the agreed deal is put to a plebiscite. If the Colombian people fail to vote in favor of the deal, the efforts of the last three years will be for nothing.
For much of Santos’ presidential term the peace talks with the FARC have been the focus and he has been vocal about his hopes of being the president to bring Colombia to peace.
Among current unrest at the negotiation table about the method for the ratification for the peace deal Santos said in an interview with the BBC that he “will be in serious difficulty” politically if the Colombian people reject the peace deal in the plebiscite.
The FARC released a statement for the third anniversary of the talks. While they outlined some of the major positive achievements so far they were sure to critique the negotiations as well.
“Unilateralism, uncompromising stubbornness, particular political selfishness, the absence of common sense, the pettiness of class” on the side of the government are some of the things that the FARC claim are getting in the way of the progress of the talks like “dead mules in the middle of the road.”
The FARC also reiterated their disagreement with the proposed plebiscite as a fair way to include all members of society in the decision on the peace deal, saying, “there is not another solution than that of a Constituent National Assembly.”
Humberto de la Calle, the government’s chief negotiator, urged the FARC to quickly resolve the pending issues, such as the bilateral ceasefire and justice, during a speech made from Havana, Cuba on Thursday, the third anniversary of the process.
However, he assured that he did not want to rush the process, “It is true that the process has taken longer than expected, but we are in the final stretch, it’s time to finish the negotiations. But not so that we are going to finish any old how. It is not about reaching any agreement with the FARC, but about achieving a good deal.”