Peace talks with FARC to begin

Peace talks with FARC to begin

BOGOTA - Agence France-Presse
Peace talks with FARC to begin

There will be no ceasefire during the negotiations, says Manuel Santos. REUTERS photo

Peace talks between Colombia’s government and its largest militant group FARC will begin next month in a bid to end Latin America’s last and longest-running armed conflict, the two sides said Sept. 4.

However, during the negotiations the army will keep up military operations against the militants, known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and there will be no demilitarized zone set up, as was the case during the last failed talks in 2002, the president said in an address to the nation.

‘Months not years’

The first such negotiations in a decade on ending nearly 50 years of fighting will begin in Oslo in the first half of October before moving to Havana, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said. The talks “will be measured in months, not years,” he added. FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, also known as “Timochenko,” confirmed the opening of talks next month, in a recorded message released by the militant delegation in Havana. “We have the sincere hope that the government will not repeat past scenarios,” Londono said.
Founded in 1964, the FARC are Colombia’s oldest militant group and draw their roots from anger among landless peasants in a country with a gaping divide between rich and poor. The government broke off negotiations last time around in 2002.