BOGOTA – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will meet with predecessors Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana to seek a way forward after the “no” vote in last weekend’s referendum on a peace accord with FARC guerrillas, officials said Tuesday.
The president will hold separate meetings on Wednesday with Pastrana, who served from 1998-2002, and Uribe, Colombia’s head of state from 2002-2010, sources in the administration said.
“I have invited Andres Pastrana and Alvaro Uribe to conduct a dialogue this Wednesday with a constructive spirit in favor of peace,” Santos wrote on Twitter with the hashtag “Juntos Por Colombia” (Together for Colombia).
Both former presidents confirmed they had appointments with Santos.
Prior to the announcement, Uribe, leader of the Democratic Center party and main spokesman of the “no” campaign ahead of the plebiscite, said he was open to talks with Santos.
Pastrana, breaking with his own Conservative Party, joined Uribe in urging Colombians to reject the peace pact that the Santos administration spent nearly four years negotiating with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
The “no” prevailed by a margin of 50.21 percent to 49.78 percent amid turnout of less than 38 percent.
Santos and FARC Commander Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, better known as “Timochenko,” signed the agreement on Sept. 26 in Cartagena before 2,500 invited guests, including 15 heads of state and Spain’s King Juan Carlos.
The government did not prepare a “plan B” for what to do if the pact was voted down, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said at a press conference earlier Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, no,” she said in response to a question, citing the difficulty of conceiving that Colombians would say “no” to peace after 52 years of war.