Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has rejected an invitation from President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss ongoing peace talks with the FARC, calling it a “false gesture,” local radio station Santa Fe reported Wednesday.
The invitation was an apparent attempt to ease now-Senator Uribe’s opposition to peace negotiations in Havana between the government and the FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, which began in 2012.
After being confronted and asked for an answer multiple times, Uribe finally rejected the invitation, claiming it was insincere. Ex-president Uribe has been outspoken in his opposition to the ongoing peace talks, a point of contention between Uribe and the current president.
The former president himself has received fierce criticism for bashing his successor’s peace talks after recently leaked documents exposed that Uribe had been attempting similar peace talks during his second presidential term (2006 and 2010).
In response, Uribe’s party, the Democratic Center, intensified its campaign against the peace process after the government released preliminary agreements that were reached during the negotiations. The party described 52 objections to the three preliminary deals reached in the negotiations so far.
Uribe and Santos were formerly close allies. During Uribe’s second term as president, Santos served in his administration as Defense Minister.
Uribe backed Santos in his bid for the presidency in 2010 before relations between the two began to deteriorate over Santos’ moves away from Uribe’s hard-line policies.