Colombia’s Peace Talks Postponed Due to Technical Difficulties

Colombia’s Peace Talks Postponed Due to Technical Difficulties

By Dialogo
November 16, 2012

The beginning of peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC’s communist guerrillas in Cuba was delayed until November 19, in order to define mechanisms to include the civil society, both parties announced in a joint statement.

“We agree to continue the technical meeting to finalize operational details to allow citizen participation, from November 15 to 18. Delegates will start discussions in Havana, Cuba, on Monday the 19,” said the statement published on the Colombian Presidency web page.

Minister of Interior, Fernando Carrillo told the press that the delay of talks was not connected with any possible background problems.

“Actually, there were technical difficulties. As you can imagine, there is an entire structure that needs to be set up for the talks to take place, especially regarding public opinion and media relations, and the structure was not ready yet,” he said.

According to Carrillo, “that was really the only reason for the postponement. I think there are no underlying problems.”

With regard to the participation of the civil society in the negotiations, the official explained that “the gates for dialogue have been opened.”

“There are proposals that, in some way, are being channeled with the intervention of international organizations” that “are being systematized with the United Nations. The goal is to gather the opinions of Colombians about all these issues,” he concluded.

So far, the participation of the civil society had been discarded in the talks that were scheduled to start on November 15.

A technical commission from the Colombian government is based in Havana since November 6, where they met with FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) representatives to define technical details of the process.

The negotiation table will address an agenda of five topics: agrarian issues, guarantees of political participation, illicit drugs, disarmament, and victims. Although a time frame has not been specified, the government has expressed that this discussion should reach agreements in “a matter of months, not years.”