Colombian Government and FARC Acknowledge Advances toward Peace

By Dialogo
February 12, 2013

On February 10, the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas acknowledged they’re making progress in Havana, after concluding the fourth cycle of peace talks, and they talked about the release of two police officers and a Soldier captured by the rebels in late January.

“The agreements we eventually reach are integral and we always keep in mind the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed to,” Colombian government spokesman Humberto de la Calle told the press in a statement which he read without taking questions.

Two hours later, Iván Márquez, head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) delegation, told the press that “there is no question we are moving forward and we realize that the main achievement in these meetings is to agree on gradually giving land rights to the greatest possible number of Colombians.”

This way, both delegations ended the fourth cycle of peace talks in Havana that started on November 19, and which are aimed to bring the armed conflict to an end with a five-point agenda.

Both parties were determined to create conditions for the liberation of two police officers and a Soldier taken by the FARC on January 25, and considered “kidnapped” by the government, while the guerrillas label them as “prisoners of war.”

De la Calle asked the FARC for “an agile procedure” to allow the release of the prisoners, while the guerrillas’ leader, Ricardo Téllez, requested Juan Manuel Santos’ government to make arrangements for the prisoners’ release to the International Red Cross and the NGO “Colombianos y Colombianas por la Paz” as soon as possible.

“The FARC say one thing in public as part of their platform (…) and something else is spoken at the table. We will strictly abide by the agreed agenda,” De la Calle said in reference to the “energy-mining problem or the idea of putting a hold on the construction of megaprojects to generate power.”

He also highlighted that the government will “strictly abide by the agreed agenda (…) and the agenda is not open to other topics brought about by the FARC. We are not here to talk about divinity and humanity,” stated former vice president De la Calle.

According to both parties, talks will be resumed on Monday, February 18.