In an apparent attempt to ease opposition to ongoing peace talks with rebel group FARC, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos invited his bitter rival, ex-president Alvaro Uribe, to sit down with him and discuss the issue.
In a posting on Twitter, the president said “I invite senator @AlvaroUribeVel to meet and speak, with patriotic criteria, about peace. #EveryoneForPeace.” Following up on the post, he said “If President Uribe wants to come here to the Palace, he will be welcome to discuss the main issues of the nation, including the most important: peace.”
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) October 21, 2014
The gesture comes just as tensions between Uribe and Santos continue to grow.
The former President has received fierce criticism for bashing his successor’s peace talks, while recently leaked documents show that Uribe had been attempting similar peace talks during his second term, between 2006 and 2010.
In response, Uribe’s party, the Democratic Center, has intensified its criticism campaign against the peace process after the government released preliminary agreements that were reached during the negotiations.
Uribe and his party described 52 objections on the three main areas of the publicized agreements: land ownership, political participation and illicit drugs.
The Democratic Center posted that “nowhere in the agreements is it asked that the FARC recognize their close ties to the drug trade,” calling the implementation of the accords the “legalization of the largest money laundering operation that has ever occurred in the country. ”
When asked about the invitation by a group of journalists, Uribe countered, “What I find worrying is that we make criticisms [on the peace process] based on documentation, and the president calls them lies.”
After being further pressed for a tangible reply to the invitation, all the ex-president and now senator would say on the issue is that “these are objective themes dear friends.”