Colombian president says peace talks won't yield new constitution

Colombian president says peace talks won
# 17 January 2013 03:37 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday denied that the ongoing peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) could end with a constitution-drafting assembly, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"It's very possible that we could find a formula to popularly endorse any agreement... But I want to make it very clear that we are not going to conclude these accords with a constituent assembly, as several people requested yesterday," Santos said in the city of Ocala in Norte de Santander state.

He noted that in any case, a constituent assembly is not the equivalent of a popular referendum.

He also asked the FARC to refrain from publicly discussing the details of the peace talks, saying when the two sides make progress, it will be made known to the public.

"This dialogue has to be a serious dialogue, a discreet dialogue," the president said, stressing that the negotiations have to be confidential and cannot take place in the media spotlight, which he blamed to be one of the causes of earlier failures.

Also on Wednesday, the Colombian government announced that according to a recent census, the five-decade conflict between the FARC and government forces had victimized over 5 million people, including those who have been killed, wounded or disappeared.

On Monday, the Colombian government and the FARC resumed peace talks in Havana, Cuba, after a three-week break for the holidays and a public forum in Bogota on agrarian reform, which is a key negotiation topic.

The current peace process began in Oslo, Norway on Oct. 18 and was later moved to Havana.