Interview with Juan Manuel Santos
Telephone interview with Juan Manuel Santos following the announcement of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. The interviewer is Adam Smith, Chief Scientific Officer of Nobel Media.
Juan Manuel Santos (JMS): Hello.
Adam Smith (AS): Good morning President Santos. My name is Adam Smith representing Nobelprize.org, the official website of the Nobel Prize in Stockholm. On behalf of all here, we would like to congratulate you on the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.
JMS: Thank you so much, thank you so much. I receive this with great emotion, and this is something that will forever be important for my country and for the people who have suffered with the war. This is a great, great recognition for my country and with all humbleness I receive it. I am terribly grateful.
AS: Thank you. The Nobel Committee have been explicit in their official statement in stating that the award is meant also to pay tribute to the Colombian people. I imagine that is something you would echo.
JMS: Of course, of course. This is...The Colombian people and especially the victims, is something for us very important and I receive this award in their name; the Colombian people who have suffered so much with this war, 52 years of war. And especially the victims, the millions of victims that have suffered with the war that we are on the verge of ending.
AS: And what message do you hope the award will send?
JMS: The message is that we have to persevere until we reach the end, we reach the end of this war. We are very, very close. We just need to push a bit further, to persevere, and this is going to be a great stimulus to reach that end, and to start the construction of peace in Colombia. This is something that all the Colombian people will receive with emotion and specially the victims will be very, very happy because I think it’s in their name that this award is given.
AS: Given all the obstacles on the road to peace, may I just ask what keeps you going in your personal determination to achieve a peaceful end.
JMS: Well, it’s simply a matter of believing in a cause and there is no better cause for any society, for any country, than living in Peace. Something that unfortunately Colombians have not been able to have for three generations. And I think this is the moment, the conditions are right and we just simply have to persevere. And this has been my…my strength, what has given me the stimulus to persevere, the good causes. This is the best cause that any person can try to achieve, peace for his country.
AS: Thank you. And lastly, news of your Nobel Prize will be broadcast around the world today. Is there anything that you’d like to ask people to do to help you in your quest for a peaceful end to Colombia’s civil war?
JMS: Thank you. Simply to say that we are very, very close to achieving peace. I think the other group that is…that is going to…we are fighting today, we’re very close also to having peace with this other group. The two groups that we are negotiating with will receive this as a stimulus from the whole world that we have to reach an agreement very soon. We reached an agreement with the first group, the second group, we’re very close. Simply that we have to continue until we reach the end.
AS: And people around the world who are also hoping for this peaceful end, can they do anything to help you?
JMS: Well, the international community has been so supportive. To continue the support and to continue to say that the whole world expects the Colombian people to reach, and especially the parties involved, to reach an agreement very soon. We are now…Also there are some people who have not been supporting the government in this peace process. We are talking to them, as a matter of fact, we started talks with them just a couple of days ago, and I hope that they understand how important it is to also contribute to support this process because the peace would be much more…much stronger and much more durable if it is supported by every single Colombian.
AS: Thank you very much, indeed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and taking the time to speak with us, and once again, may we offer our congratulations to you all and to the Colombian people.
JMS: Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and in the name of all the Colombians, especially the victims. Thank you very, very much.