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Colombia is advancing along the path to peace

juan manuel santos-pazPresident Juan Manuel Santos in Havana, yesterday September 23, for the signing of a key fourth section of a peace accord, addressing justice and victims, said that he expects the negotiation process between his government and the FARC-EP to be completed within six months

“We have agreed that within six months, at the latest, this negotiation of a final accord can be completed. A few difficult points remain, but we are already ending a 60-year war; the only one, and the longest, on our continent,” Santos said.

“I would like to recognize and highlight the step taken today by the revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP)”, he continued.

“Today we are moving in the same direction, and it is the most noble one, which is that of peace.”

“Equally important as guaranteeing the rights of victims is ensuring that there will be no more victims, that the armed conflict be definitively ended,” Santos stated.

He recognized that the Colombian government bears the responsibility of assuring the FARC-EP’s security, as the new agreement is implemented.

He also noted that the rebels had agreed to lay down their arms within 60 days of the final accord.

The Colombian state will grant broad amnesty for political crimes, but crimes legally defined as crimes against humanity, genocide and serious war crimes will not be eligible for clemency, according to the text of the section just signed by the FARC-EP and the country’s government.

Referring to the victims and justice section of the accord, Santos described it as the “greatest accomplishment” thus far in the talks, saying that the Jurisdiction for Peace, for the most serious crimes, will not allow impunity.

Santos said all Colombians will have the opportunity to ratify the final agreement.

He thanked Raúl Castro and Cuba for their “hospitality and commitment to peace in Colombia;” the government of Norway which also serves as a guarantor; in addition to Venezuela and Chile, who are accompanying the process.

The Colombian President concluded saying, “I will take the words of Pope Francis, encourage the path, pray for sustaining efforts to reach definitive reconciliation and not allow another fiasco along this road to peace. We will not fail; the hour of peace has arrived.”


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