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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope meets with Colombian leaders at odds on peace deal

Pope Francis met with the current and former presidents of Colombia, two leading figures in the country at opposite sides of a controversial peace agreement that puts an end to a decades-long civil war.

President Juan Manuel Santos and former president Alvaro Uribe met individually and together with Pope Francis at the Vatican on 16th December.

Upon his arrival, Santos appealed for the pope’s support following a shaky start to a peace deal ending more than 50 years of civil war between government forces and the guerrilla group FARC, the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The civil war is responsible for the deaths of more than 220,000 between 1958-2013 and left countless missing or displaced, according to Colombia’s National Center for Historical Memory.

“We need your help,” Santos told the pope before the start of their private meeting.

According to a statement released by the Vatican, the president expressed appreciation for the pope’s support of the peace process “along with the hope that such peace be stable and lasting.”

Picture: People form the word Peace outside the cathedral in Bogota, Colombia. (CNS photo/Felipe Caicedo, Reuters).