BOGOTA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — The top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) insurgent group, Rodrigo Londono Echeverri, said Friday he would like to “shake hands” with President Juan Manuel Santos, despite the president having ordered his destruction.
Londono is better known by the nom de guerre “Timoleon Jimenez” or “Timochenko.”
Londono indicated in an interview aired Friday by local media that he was looking forward to that moment once an agreement is reached between the government and the rebels to end five decades of armed conflict, but dismissed the possibility of a meeting between the two before ongoing peace talks conclude with a peace deal.
“If we reach a peace accord that is socially just, rest assured that from the oldest guerrilla fighter to the newest, they are going to back it,” said Londono, promising that the rebels will lay down their weapons once a peace deal with the government is signed.
Still, Londono said he was concerned by Santos’ recent order to have him and other rebel leaders killed, while the two delegations continue to negotiate an end to the fighting.
“It’s worrisome that Santos believes that to make progress at the talks in Havana, our bomb-felled bodies must be laid out on the negotiating table,” Londono said.
“It would be as if we were constantly hatching plans to kill the president, believing that his beaten-down successors would sign a peace deal quicker, it’s that kind of mentality that is worrisome,” he added.
The peace talks, which began in November in Havana, Cuba, are expected to conclude by the end of the year.
Earlier this week, Santos, whose presidential term is ending and who has yet to declare whether he will run again, said he ” dreamed of signing the peace deal.