Colombian Government and FARC Demand to Accelerate Peace Talks

By Dialogo
January 16, 2013

The Colombian government and FARC guerrilla delegations demanded from each other to accelerate peace negotiations in order to put an end to the armed conflict taking place for almost 50 years.

The talks were resumed on January 14 in Havana, Cuba, after a year-end recess.

The FARC demanded “to accelerate the general agreement’s exhaustive and comprehensive analysis – thinking of the interests of the national majority – to put an end to the conflict, and build a stable and enduring peace,” the guerrilla delegation’s head Iván Márquez told the press.

Márquez added that the FARC “demand Juan Manuel Santos’s government to stop the warlike rhetoric with false promises to solve social problems, and to commit in public to submit prompt, tangible solutions without demagoguery.”

In the meantime, the head of the official government delegation, Humberto de la Calle, also demanded that the talks be accelerated in a recorded statement that was submitted to the press before the start of the talks in the Convention Palace in Havana.

“We need to move forward in this particular case (…), we need to take a new rhythm, stepping forward. This urgency is only aimed at maintaining social support; society wants to see an efficient, worthy, agile, serious process,” he said.

De la Calle also added that the talks, which started on November 19, 2012, are “in the phase of obtaining results that generate an agreement to put an end to the conflict.”

“The government does not want to change the agenda,” but the FARC cannot use the proposals submitted by the Agrarian Forum to carry out “armed politics,” he stated.

The Forum’s proposals are “to boost the (peace talk) process; participation is not to further the FARC’s political actions, to get involved in politics beforehand, because there cannot be armed politics in Colombia,” he added.

Both parties must discuss the Forum’s results, where 546 proposals submitted by 1,314 citizens belonging to 522 national organizations were collected.

“We are going to analyze the situation exhaustively and use this first point of the agenda as a means of discussion about what citizens and social and political organizations have told us,” Márquez indicated.

The FARC made about 15 initiatives public to solve the agrarian problem, which was the first out of five points on the agenda for the peace talks that should conclude in November at the latest, according to the deadline set by President Santos.

Some of the proposals were the eradication of “unproductive large plots” and “overcoming political, economic, social, and cultural conditions that generate structural violence,” “the transformation of rural relationships” and “eradicating hunger, inequality,” among others.

The government declined to join a unilateral 60-day ceasefire declared by the guerrillas at the beginning of the talks, and which will end on January 20.

This third round of the peace talks will last 11 days, De la Calle announced.