CARACAS - Agence France-Presse
Commander of the FARC-EP leftist guerrillas Ivan Marquez announces the end of a two-month unilateral ceasefire, on January 20, 2013, upon arrival at the Convention Palace in Havana for peace talks with the Colombian government. AFP Photo
Colombia’s FARC militants announced Dec. 20 the end of a two-month unilateral cease-fire declared in November at the outset of talks in Cuba aimed at ending Latin America’s longest-running insurgency.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had said they were willing to extend the ceasefire, due to expire yesterday, if the Colombian government agreed to a bilateral truce.
But President Juan Manuel Santos and his government rejected that idea from the start, portraying the cease-fire as a negotiation tactic and preferring to maintain military pressure on the FARC during the negotiations.Returning to military phase
“With heartache again we must admit the return of the military phase of the war, which nobody wants,” FARC chief negotiator Ivan Marquez told reporters at the start of a new day of talks with government representatives. Santos, who has given a deadline of November for a peace deal to be achieved, scolded the militants for only partially fulfilling their cease-fire pledge. The Colombian military says it has registered at least 52 violations by the militants over the past two months.