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News > Latin America

FARC Cancel Meeting with Colombia's Far-Right 'Saboteur' Uribe

  • FARC commander Ivan Marquez (L) and Pastor Alape talk during a meeting at the San Pedro Claver High School in Apartado, Colombia, Sept. 30, 2016.

    FARC commander Ivan Marquez (L) and Pastor Alape talk during a meeting at the San Pedro Claver High School in Apartado, Colombia, Sept. 30, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 October 2016
Opinion

Uribe's political profile rose as a result of the defeat of the peace deal and he has tried to leverage it in order to make major changes to the deal.

A meeting between representatives from Colombia's right-wing opposition and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was canceled due to objections by the rebels who say they are concerned that the opponents of the peace deal are only looking to engage in political posturing in order to sabotage peace efforts.

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Pastor Alape, a commander with the guerrilla organization and member of the peace delegation, wrote on his Twitter account that the proposals from Colombia's right-wing opposition, led by former far-right President Alvaro Uribe, were “incoherent” and that their “real goal is to slow down (the peace process) and start an election campaign.”

The FARC leader referred to Uribe as a “saboteur” of the peace process, in reference to a New York Times article that criticized the former president's role in opposing the peace deal.

Hardliner Uribe, current senator and leader of the right-wing Democratic Center party, had previously said his group would not meet with the rebels, who signed a peace deal with the government last month to end 52 years of war.

Colombians rejected the accord with the FARC in a surprise plebiscite result this month. Uribe spearheaded the "No" campaign.

Uribe's political profile rose as a result of the defeat of the peace deal and he has tried to leverage it in order to make major changes to the peace deal.

One of Uribe's main proposals calls for the elimination of the parallel “transitional justice” system for former rebels that would have created a special tribunal for former FARC combatants and offered alternative justice for those who confess to their crimes.

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The “transitional justice” system was one of the most contentious points during negotiations and the one that took the longest to negotiate and the FARC leadership is unlikely to accept any changes to it.

The FARC have consistently maintained that they would not turn in their weapons only to go to prison.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who has staked his legacy on a successful deal, has been meeting with opponents in a bid to salvage the accord.

In a televised speech on Tuesday Santos, who won a Nobel Prize for his peace efforts, said talks were advancing and he would continue to hear opposition proposals until Thursday before discussing them with the FARC.

Both the Santos government and the FARC have stated they intend to quickly find a solution to rescue the peace deal.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced earlier this month that the bilateral cease-fire with the FARC will be extended until the end of the calendar year.

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