Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has received a letter from one of the most important groups of world leaders, offering their support for a peace process with rebel group FARC, local media reported Sunday.
Eleven ex-presidents and prominent world leaders, including Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and Nelson Mandela sent a letter to Santos to declare their support for Colombia’s peace process with the FARC.
The letter was sent by the foundation known as The Elders, which is led by ex UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and includes Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Martti Ahtisaari, as well as ex-Presidents Jimmy Carter (US) and Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brasil).
In the letter, the world figures — several of whom have firsthand experience of prolonged periods of conflict, declared their personal and political support for the process.
“Don’t hesitate to call on us if you believe that we may be able to help you in your noble task” read the letter, which acknowledged the first point of agreement over agrarian reform as “a fundamental first step towards the consolidation of peace.”
“The Elders have followed Colombia’s persistent efforts to put to an end the civil conflict that has afflicted Colombia for half a century with interest and admiration…Faced with the many obstacles that may arise, we want to show our support in your efforts to succeed in achieving a definitive peace agreement with the FARC as soon as possible” said the letter, in which the world figures also stated their belief that the agreement should have “binding obligations for both sides.”
The peace negotiators are currently on a break after the “historic” agrarian reform agreement was announced on May 26 and are due to be resumed June 11, with the political participation of the rebels the next issue on the agenda.
However since the announcement, developments such as increased political tension with neighboring Venezuela and alleged threats made by the FARC on labor unions have threatened to destabilize the negotiations.