A senior official in the US State Department has predicted that presidential elections in May will slow down the peace process in Colombia, reported W Radio Thursday.
The official, who reportedly requested anonymity, told W Radio, “realistically, in an election year, with elections for half of the year, it will be difficult to complete the peace process before the elections.”
If the peace talks are to come to a temporary halt at some point during the election season, however, as he predicted they would, the official assured that it would not be detrimental to the greater peace process.
“Sometime, I think there will be a suspension of talks until after the election. I think that would be natural. If that does not happen and they continue talking, the better, but if it happens, I do not think anyone should lose hope [in the process],” he said.
The US official also applauded the parties for staying committed to the process, but added that they have “avoided the hard points on the agenda.”
He concluded that “while some Colombians may not show their optimism about ongoing dialogue in the polls, they are very clear in saying that they want the triumph of peace.”
The first round of this year’s peace talks started on January 13 and is currently addressing the issue of illicit drugs in Colombia, the third topic in a six-point agenda. Over the course of 2013, agreements were reached on the subjects of political participation of the FARC and land reform.