Humberto De la Calle, the Colombian government’s chief negotiator in peace talks with the country’s largest rebel group FARC, emphasized in a statement Monday that “peace should be placed above internal divisions” in the talks taking place in Havana, Cuba.
“Nothing would be more historically reprehensible if by chance we reached an agreement with the FARC and then it were wasted due to internal divisions,” said De la Calle.
This announcement from the chief negotiator comes at a time when critics of the peace process are becoming more vocal every day. The first anniversary of the peace talks will be in the third week of November, and even President Juan Manuel Santos has voiced concerns over the slow pace of the process.
The unequivocally positive rhetoric that used to accompany the peace talks has changed, as even De la Calle seems exasperated by the halting progress.
“[The imperative is to] exhaust the possibility of dialogue with the FARC to save Colombians pain and sacrifice.”
The chief negotiator made these remarks while he the President attended an event hosted by the Corona Foundation, a private institution that works to improve the lives of vulnerable populations.
Santos also spoke during the event, assuring that the government will not cede any ground to the rebels in terms of the basic structures of the country: “Neither the structure of the state, nor our political or economic model, nor the future of the Armed Forces, or anything like that, are the subject of discussion [in] Havana.”
The anniversary of the start of these talks falls on November 18, so far there has only been an agreement on land reform, the first point on the five-point agenda. There is still no agreement on political participation, drug trafficking, the practicalities of the end of the conflict, and the rights of the victims.
The peace talks are currently on a 10-day break, but are expected to resume on Wednesday.