Colombia Wants to End Half a Century of Conflict
By Dialogo September 06, 2012
The Colombian government and the FARC communist guerrillas will begin a dialogue process in the first two weeks of October in Oslo, to end the armed conflict of 48 years, the most prolonged conflict and still the only one to take place in the region, announced both parties on September 4.
The talks, during which military operations and guerrilla activity will not stop, will then move to Havana, said President Juan Manuel Santos in a speech to the nation.
These negotiations, the first in a decade, “will be measured in months, not years,” he pointed out.
Shortly after that statement, FARC delegates who are in Cuba presented a video in which their highest commander, Rodrigo Londoño, better known as Timoleón Jimenez or Timochenko, confirmed the will of the guerrillas to begin the dialogue and thanked the efforts of Norway and Cuba, who are acting as guarantors of the process, and Venezuela and Chile, which are chaperones.
The announcements were immediately greeted by U.S. President Barack Obama, who in a statement emphasized “the strong commitment” of Santos “to the search for a lasting peace.”
Norway, which will host the facility, congratulated the parties, and stressed, “It takes courage to seek peace.”
During the past six months, the Colombian government and the FARC carried out “exploratory discussions” in Havana and signed a framework agreement that will outline its dialogue from now on, indicated Santos in his speech.
“This agreement does not yet signify peace, nor is it a final agreement. It is a road map to define the terms of discussion to reach that final agreement,” said the President, who asserted that his country is facing “a real opportunity” for peace.
“Today we can speak of peace because the use of violence to achieve political objectives is a thing of the past. No country in the region will tolerate it, and there are several rulers who left behind the armed struggle and opted for the path of democracy. Not only Colombia: the entire continent wants to live in peace and supports us in that purpose”, he emphasized.
“We have worked with responsibility, and I must admit that so have the FARC. Everything so far has been agreed on, it has been respected. If the FARC deals with the next phase with the same earnestness, we will have good prospects “, assured Santos.
Santos asked the Colombians for “temperance, patience and fortitude” at the possibility that the guerrillas will continue their attacks, and “unity so that the dream of living in peace finally becomes a reality.
Since the 1980s, the FARC already engaged in three peace negotiations with the successive governments of Colombia, but without reaching an agreement so far.