Colombian Peace Talks to Open without Cease Fire
By Dialogo October 15, 2012
After half a century of armed conflict, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were scheduled to start a historic peace process on October 15, with a roundtable of negotiations in Norway, although confrontations in their own territory has not ceased. But due to poor weather conditions in Bogotá, delegates from the Colombian government were unable to depart as scheduled, on October 14.
Delegates from President Juan Manuel Santos' government and from the FARC were scheduled to meet for the first time in Norway, and then in Cuba. Both countries are guarantors in this process that is unanimously backed by the international community.
The Colombian government's top priority is to put an end to the country’s long-term armed conflict. “In the dialogue with the guerrillas, my government is determined to move forward with prudence, with sensibility, with strength, and without repeating past mistakes,” said Santos during the last UN General Assembly celebrated in New York.
“Guerrillas have realized that it is impossible to win by armed means, and the State has demonstrated its willingness to show a way out to the conflict through political solutions,” María Clemencia Castro, head of the Observatory for Disarmament at Colombia’s National University, told AFP.
Since Santos took office in 2010, he has been paving the way for an agreement by means of several mechanisms, such as a law for land restitution and victim reparations, a key point for the FARC, which emerged as an insurgent group from a peasant rebellion in the 1960s.
The agenda for the conversations includes five points, of which the first will be rural development. The process will also address the involvement of the guerrillas in the production and trafficking of drugs in Colombia.
According to a recent survey, over two thirds of the Colombian population is in favor of a solution to the conflict that has caused hundreds of thousands of victims, and cost two points of the GDP annually.