In an interview with Brazilian weekly Epoca published Thursday, Santos said that if the FARC showed the will, “I would really like that [the negotiation] was directly with me, just like I took the steps with [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez,” with whom Santos brokered improved relations only days after taking office in 2010.
According to the president, “a true manifestation of will” to reach a peace accord is necessary for Santos to begin the negotiations with the country’s oldest and largest rebel group.
Without clarifying what he would consider manifestations of will, the Colombian head of state reiterated that the recent release of the last ten of the FARC’s political hostages was a good example, but reiterated that the release and the promise of the FARC to ban kidnapping for economic purposes “enough demonstrations” to justify peace talks.
According to Santos, “the experiences with peace processes have been very negative. The guerrillas always used these moments to with time and breath.”
The FARC have been fighting the Colombian state since 1964. The last peace talks between government and guerrillas ended in 2002.