Uribe cited the December assasination of Luis Francisco Cuellar, governor of the Caqueta department, as evidence of the FARC’s unwillingness to negotiate peacefully with the government. The administration had been willing to acede to some of the FARC’s demands regarding the release of kidnap victims held by the guerrillas, Uribe said.
“We’ll see if these terrorists, instead of committing kidnappings and murders, free those being held hostage, begin a process of reflection and enter a process of total demobilization,” he said in an interview with Caracol radio.
Uribe has made previous attempts to initiate negotiations with the FARC for the release of 24 soliders and police officers held for years in jungle camps. Negotiations stalled after FARC commanders demanded that the captives be exchanged for imprisoned guerrillas.
Uribe also thanked the president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, for retaliating against members of FARC’s 57th Front found active in Panama’s southernmost province. Three members of FARC were killed Wednesday in a clash with police at Panama’s border.
“As it becomes harder for terrorist groups to find places of refuge, this will obligate them to demobilize, to seek a peace process seriously and in good faith,” he said.