Colombian presidential bidder will suspend peace talks

With three weeks remaining before the second round of voting candidates are campaigning hard

Colombian presidential bidder will suspend peace talks

World Bulletin/News Desk

The winner of the first round of the Colombian presidential elections, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga said that should he win power, he will immediately suspend peace talks with the FARC guerrillas.

The first round of the presidential elections was held last Sunday with neither President Juan Manuel Santos nor Oscar Ivan Zuluaga winning enough votes to take the presidency outright. The elections now go to a second round on June 15 and whoever wins will take office on August 7. 

The presidential contender said that future talks will be up to the guerillas. As a condition, there will need to be a permanent and verified ceasefire to protect all Colombian, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga said in a press conference at his campaign headquarters in Bogota on Monday.  

“On August 7 I will create a decree for the temporary suspension of the dialogues in Havana so that the FARC can decide,” said Oscar Ivan Zuluaga at a press conference in his campaign headquarters in Bogota.   

The peace dialogues have been on-going since 2012 and have been the central theme of President Juan Manuel Santos’ tenure.

Currently, the peace dialogues, between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC guerrillas) and the Colombian government’s negotiating team, have been paused while the election period continues. Most recently they had come to an agreement on the subject of how to deal with the issue of illegal drugs in Colombia.  

“I don’t believe in the fallacies of Oscar Ivan Zuluaga,” said ex-president César Gaviria in an interview to El Tiempo newspaper, who is now heading up President Juan Manuel Santos’ re-election campaign. “With peace we can help the Gross Domestic Product grow by two or three percentage points to improve living conditions for Colombians and aid this country’s progress.”

Both campaigns are now entirely based around a debate on the peace dialogues.

Oscar Ivan Zuluaga has also commented that he demands a minimum prison sentence of six years for high ranking guerrillas and of up to 50 years for those involved in crimes against humanity. Former guerrillas would be barred from being elected to public office.

On June 15 when Colombians vote in the second round of the presidential elections to decide who will lead Colombia for the next four years, they will now be choosing between a candidate in President Juan Manuel Santos who has bet it all on the peace process which is more than 50 percent negotiated and a Oscar Ivan Zuluaga who is prepared to bring it all to an end.

“They continue recruiting children, killing farmers with landmines, killing police officers and soldiers in cold blood, attacking vital parts of the country’s infrastructure and extorting cattle ranchers and farmers,” said Oscar Ivan Zuluaga to El Espectador.

Human Rights Watch estimates that since 1958 the Colombian conflict has created more than 5 million internally displaced people and caused an estimated 220,000 deaths.

“If Oscar Ivan Zuluaga is elected president, then the peace process is ended for good,” said Ariel Ávila, an analyst for Bogota-based Peace and Democracy Foundation.

Last Mod: 28 Mayıs 2014, 10:05
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