Colombia, FARC lauch official peace talks
HURDAL, Norway - ReutersColombia’s government and militants promised yesterday to seek a comprehensive peace agreement at their talks aimed at ending nearly half a century of conflict. The next phase of their talks will start in Havana on Nov. 15, they announced in a joint declaration in Norway yesterday, Reuters reported.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas and Colombia’s government began their closed-door talks in Oslo on Oct. 17.
“We want to embark on a road to social change,” the government’s lead negotiator, said former Vice President Humberto de la Calle, seated at a long table that included the chief negotiators of both sides, The Associated Press reported. He acknowledged Colombia’s “unjust social differences,” including a deep gulf between rich and poor.
The chief rebel negotiator, Ivan Marquez, said the FARC, had arrived in Norway “with an olive branch.” He railed against “state terrorism” to steal land and “international vampires” in the oil industry exploiting Colombian workers. The two sides agreed in August to hold talks after six months of secret meetings in Havana. The talks are to focus on agrarian reform and full political rights for the peasant-based rebels once an agreement is signed and they disarm.