Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos asked foreign leaders Tuesday not to get involved in the South American country’s violent conflict with leftist rebel groups..
Santos made the statements at a meeting of the Presidential Council of the Andean Community (CAN) in Bogota, also attended by the heads of state of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.
Santos affirmed that “in the case of Alfonso Cano, [killing the FARC leader] was the right thing, because we will search for peace in this country willingly or forcefully.” The president argued that illegal armed groups such as the FARC have not shown a willingness to search for peace or to consider dialogue with the government and that until they do the government if justified in maintaining military pressure.
President Santos addressed the other Andean leaders, saying that the peace process in Colombia “is a Colombian process and we Colombians will resolve it. When we need help, if it turns out that we need it, we will come to you, and I am sure that Evo Morales, Rafeal Correa, Ollanta Humala will give us the help to find peace. But in the meantime it’s a Colombian problem and we don’t want anyone interfering in the internal affairs of Colombia.”
The death of the guerrilla leader represents the most substantial victory by the Colombian armed forces against the FARC in the guerrilla group’s 47-year long history.