Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos warns not to hurry a peace process with the FARC in an interview with TIME Magazine published Wednesday.
“The worst I thing I could do is be in a hurry. I have to wait for the correct circumstances to be present, and for that I have to be patient,” the president said, stressing that I am always open to a political solution provided the FARC demonstrate they can sit down and negotiate in good faith.”
“I’ll be the first to recognize that we are winning but we have not won yet;” Santos told the international news publication. The release of the ten Colombian officials held in the jungle for 14 years has been hailed by media as a great success in the peace process. Santos called it Monday “a step in the right direction, a very important step,” but reiterated that “it’s not enough.”
Santos admitted he hopes that peace with the guerrilla group, which has been at war with the state for 48 years, is achieved under his presidency. The hostage release was not the first of the FARC positives moves under his government. In February the rebels announced they would put an end to ransom kidnapping, and that they would release all remaining political prisoners. At the time the head of Colombians for Peace Piedad Cordoba called the announcements a “breakthrough” for the government. But the FARC confirmed they would continue their conflict with the state, only using different means of funding.
Despite the fulfillment of the promise to release hostages, the FARC has as of yet refused to comply with other government requests, like ending the recruitment of child soldiers, de-mining the countryside (mines have claimed nearly ten thousand victims in the past 22 years, 40% civilian casualties), and put a stop to the bombing of schools and hospitals, caught in the crossfire with attacks of state forces.