Friday, December 5, 2014

Colombia: Government, FARC to Reconvene Peace Talks During December 10-17

According to The Latin American Tribune, Colombia’s government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said on Wednesday (December 3) that they have overcome a crisis stemming from the capture of an army general and that the next round of negotiations will take place in Havana from Dec. 10-17.

“The national government and FARC delegations, after jointly analyzing the events of the past few weeks, consider the crisis resolved,” the parties said in a statement read in Havana by representatives of guarantor nations Cuba and Norway.

In the upcoming round of the two-year-old talks, aimed at ending a 50-year-old armed struggle, the parties will seek to “advance on de-escalating the conflict with a view to reaching an agreement on that issue as soon as possible.”

As part of the December cycle, a fifth and final group of conflict victims will share their experiences with the peace negotiators on Dec. 16 in Havana.

COMMENT: The government and the FARC have reached agreement on three issues of their six-point agenda: land reform, political participation for the guerrillas, and efforts to combat drug trafficking.

The three remaining issues are the rights of victims, rebel disarmament and implementation of the peace accord, which would have to be approved in a popular referendum.

The parties also have agreed to “establish a permanent mechanism via the guarantor nations to facilitate a solution to eventual crises that many arise in the future.”

The agreement announced Wednesday in Havana ends the crisis that erupted after the FARC’s November 16 capture of Colombian army Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate and two other captives in the northwestern province of Choco, an action that prompted President Juan Manuel Santos to suspend the talks a day later.

The rebels freed those individuals last Sunday.

After the Dec. 10-17 cycle, the two sides plan to meet again in January at a date to be determined.

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