By Dialogo April 20, 2011 Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos affirmed on 18 April that the country is in the final phase of the fight for peace, and it is therefore urgent that government forces redouble their efforts and multiply the number of actions in order to achieve that victory. “In every war, the final phase is the most complicated, the most difficult, and we’re in that final phase,” the president said at the Management Dialogues event held at the Defense Ministry. The head of state reaffirmed his confidence in the Armed Forces and invited their members to continue pressing forward, since “the challenge is a large one.” He highlighted Colombians’ backing for the work performed by members of government forces. He declared that “the work that is being done here in the ministry depends on that, and so does the fact that our heroes (because I’ve always considered them that way, our heroes), our soldiers, our police officers, our marines are all over our national territory, risking their lives; the achievement of that goal is going to depend on them. It’s a goal that the entire country supports,” he said. He affirmed that the ministry’s objectives are ambitious, but he indicated that he is sure that they will be met, because he had the opportunity to get to know the capabilities of the military as defense minister. “I remember very well that when I arrived at this ministry, we proposed to strike telling blows at the FARC secretariat, and people laughed: that’s what all the ministers have been saying for the last forty years. Well, thanks to your work, we’ve succeeded in striking the heaviest blows that have been struck against these FARC bandits in history,” he added. He reiterated that security is one of the national government’s priorities, as a fundamental starting point for prosperity. “We consider the work being done by the Ministry of Defense to be the most important of all. Security, as I’ve repeated on many, many occasions, is the foundation of progress. The Romans themselves, when they invented the republic, said that security is the republic’s first law. If that law is not enforced, the others become toothless,” President Santos indicated.