Former President Alvaro Uribe, one of the most outspoken critics of peace talks with Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC, on Monday called for a “conditioned suspension” of negotiations with the guerrillas.
Uribe, talking before supporters at a meeting of his “Democratic Center” political movement, said that if one of the candidates endorsed by him wins the 2014 elections and find ongoing peace talks, they would not end the negotiations, but impose other conditions.
“Mi respect suggestion is to not talk about canceling the process, but a conditioned suspension of the dialogue,” the former president was quotes as saying by newspaper El Tiempo.
The conditions Uribe wants negotiators to impose is a “verifiable end to criminal activity” of the FARC and the guarantee there will be no “impunity” for rebels convicted of crimes.
While the FARC has been involved in peace talks, no ceasefire was agreed and rebel fighting units have continued to attack the oil and mining industry, and the armed forces.
In regards to impunity, the FARC have so far rejected the possibility their leaders or fighters will go to jail and past peace processes in Colombia and other parts of the world have mostly included some type of amnesty. However, the possibility that crimes committed by the FARC will remain in impunity has been ruled out by President Juan Manuel Santos and deemed impossible by the International Criminal Court because of Colombia’s commitment to international law.
Uribe stressed he was a supporter of peace talks, but insisted that negotiations are held under changed conditions.
“We are friends of peace. What we are not friends of is the way they are building it now,” said the former president who plans to officially form his new political party in months and come with a candidate to run in the 2014 elections.
Uribe, having served two consecutive terms between 2002 and 2010, is not allowed by law to run for a third term.