WASHINGTON (JTA) — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos likened his bid to end decades of violence through talks with Marxist rebels to the elusive Israeli-Palestinian quest for a two-state solution.

“In search for peace, I took a risky decision,” Santos told an American Jewish Committee luncheon in New York City on Sept. 28, where he received the group’s Diplomatic Statesman Award. “After 50 years of war, conditions are present to give peace a chance, to try to negotiate. Making war is much easier than making peace.”

Colombian government talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, are set to begin next month in Norway.

Santos cast his decision to start talks in the context of his opposition to the Palestinian bid to achieve statehood absent talks with Israel.

“Any agreement must include the recognition of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people,” he said. “This has been and continues to be the position of my government.”