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President Santos tells the FARC that it’s time to make decisions to see whether there is peace or whether we are to remain at war

The Head of State reported that guerrilla members have been informed that it is impossible to grant the amnesties they are asking for in Havana. 

Bogotá, July 9, 2015 (SIG).

The President of the Republic, Juan Manuel Santos, warned the FARC guerrillas this Thursday that the time has come to make decisions on whether peace is finally achieved, or, on the contrary, whether the country remains at war.

During the transfer of authority ceremony held today at the José María Córdova Military School, the Head of State reported that guerrilla members have been informed that it is impossible to grant the amnesties they are asking for in Havana.

“We are currently at a crossroads: we can either achieve peace, or we can remain at war. That is what should be determined at this moment; it is the historical moment, the turning point we are living”, the President noted.

In that sense, President Santos added: “The time has come to make decisions; the time to decide is here, and we have said so to the members of the FARC: decision-making time has come”.

He stated that whether peace is achieved or the conflict carries on, “our Forces are prepared”.

The President reiterated that he values the guerrilla’s gesture in declaring a unilateral ceasefire as of July 20, but insisted on the need to “make substantive decisions and decide once and for all whether we achieve peace or remain at war”.

Likewise, he stated the “the time and patience of the Colombian people, and mine, are finite factors; they have its limits and they have become critical. Time has started to run against the peace process”.

He pointed out that as time goes by and negotiations fail to move forward, the Colombian people’s belief in the possibility of reaching agreements in those dialogues decreases.

“That is why, at this point, failing to move forward is moving backwards”, he said.

Lastly, President Santos stated that in view of the reality of international regulations regarding justice, the FARC guerrillas have been informed about the impossibility of offering amnesties.

“Justice is not just a right of the victims; today, it is a legal and political, domestic and international obligation, because we are subject to the treaties we have signed, to our own Constitution, as well as to the will of our people and the international community’s opinion”, he said.

In concluding, the President said, “that’s why we have explained to the FARC that those general amnesties they are asking for cannot and will not be available”.

During the event, General Alberto Mejía Ferrero, Admiral Leonardo Santamaría Gaitán and General Carlos Eduardo Bueno Vargas, assumed command of the Colombian Army, Navy and Air Force, respectively.

The new commanders replace General Jaime Lasprilla in the Army, Admiral Hernando Wills in the Navy, and General Guillermo León in the Colombian Air Force.