Kaine hails Colombia-FARC cease-fire

Washington, Oct 23 (IANS) US vice presidential Democratic candidate Tim Kaine hailed the cease-fire now being maintained in Colombia between the government and the rebel FARC group and said peace is the “future” of the Andean country.

In an interview with Efe on Saturday, the Spanish-speaking senator said the US must “respect” the result of the referendum in which Colombians voted “No” on the peace accord reached between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) last October 2 but repeated that his country “will support the peace process to the end”.

“We have to respect the referendum of the Colombian people, but we also support the peace process,” said Kaine, who as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has followed closely the peace talks held in Havana.

“In the future of a country, we all need peace, but Colombians particularly need it, and I’m very happy about the fact that after the negative result, the FARC and the government said they will maintain the cease-fire,” Kaine said.

He noted the importance of both sides agreeing there will be “no return to the days of war” despite the setback of the referendum, and that peace is the country’s only future.

“I congratulate President (Juan Manuel) Santos for his Nobel Peace Prize, a great honour for his efforts,” the Democratic candidate said, adding that Colombia is a key ally of the US, not only in Latin America but also as a partner in promoting “exercises in peace” in other parts of the world.