Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, addressed the members of the assembled press in a short conference at the CELEC summit taking place in Ecuador today, before returning to talks dealing with the problems of regional poverty.
He spoke of three themes that the regional heads of state and representatives were dealing with: the recent outbreak of the Zika virus which is affecting a number of countries of the region; the need to deal with the drugs trade and the failure over the last fifty years in the war on traffickers; and the Colombian peace process.
The President spoke enthusiastically of the great advances that have been made in negotiations with the FARC in areas of transitional justice and the need to avoid impunity, by putting the needs of the victims in the centre of negotiations: truth and justice.
In recent discussions in the UN Security Council an agreement has been made in which a ceasefire will be monitored and a disarmament process will start using peace keeping forces from other countries. In the CELAC discussions it was agreed that the region can contribute with capacity building based on experiences in other countries that have been affected by civil war. All the countries of the region have announced themselves ready to help. The president considered this a very important additional step in the process of peace that will benefit the whole continent.
He concluded by expressing his pleasure that of all the conflicts in the world today, the Colombian one is being resolved with dialogue.
A round of questions ensued with a Peruvian journalist asking how the process of internal armed conflict resolution can be applied to his country. Without committing himself in detail he said, “Problems are better resolved through dialogue.”