Colombia’s chief government negotiator in peace talks with rebel group FARC began meeting with political parties on Tuesday in order to increase congressional understanding and support of the negotiations.
Tuesday’s meetings are the first step in former Vice President Humberto de la Calle’s proposed plan to “socialize” with all of the political parties and movements that seek involvement in the peace talks.
“We have decided to meet with all political parties that so wish, with the aim not only to inform, but to hear their views on open and transparent discussions, primarily with the intention of hearing, receive recommendations and reviews. Everything we received a very good way with democratic criteria, respect for others’ ideas. When we are criticized, we take it very seriously,” De la Calle said.
According to a press release from Colombia’s Peace Commissioner’s office, De la Calle had met with more than 50 members of the U party, including party boss Sergio Diaz-Granados and Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo.
The government’s negotiator subsequently issued a summons to the Democratic Center party, Colombia’s conservative opposition party under the leadership of former president Alvaro Uribe, “to learn about the agreements, stating that “peace is above [political] parties.”
Uribe and his party have rejected the talks and have claimed the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos is too generous to the rebel group accused of tens of thousands of human rights violations.
PROFILE: Alvaro Uribe
“I want to invite the Democratic Center party to enact an exercise similar to the one we initiated today,” De la Calle said. “What is necessary and essential in a democracy is that we are able to agree on how to resolve the differences on this side of the table.”
The official further invited all interested parties to participate “in a democratic and transparent exercise, in which we are willing to express our ideas but also to value and greatly respect the distinct ideas of others.”
De la Calle’s “socializing” is hoped to bring a balance to the peace talks by providing one-on-one input from all willing parties, ensuring a sense of inclusion for each group involved in the negotiations.
The former vice president has been leading the government’s delegation in Havana, Cuba since the talks began two years ago this week.
- Se inician los ‘cara a cara’ de De la Calle con los partidos políticos (El Espectador)
- De la Calle entrega balance de dos años de diálogos a partidos políticos (Caracol Radio)
- Oficina del Alto Comisionado para la Paz – República de Colombia, email communique