FARC Peace Negotiation to Flow Swiftly

By Dialogo
November 20, 2012

The Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla started peace talks in Havana on November 19; a process that is expected to be short and conclusive to end the conflict that has extended for over 50 years, according to Humberto de la Calle, government head of negotiations.

“We started this first phase with a round of talks that will take 10 days initially, and once that is completed, a new date for the next phase will be set. It is expected to be a fast and efficient process. A process of months, not years,” said De la Calle before departing for Havana.

“It is a defining moment, not discourse,” indicated the chief of negotiation, after reminding that, according to the agreements made with the insurgents, the phase starting on November 19 “must come to an end with a definite agreement on the conflict.”

However, he stated, that while the negotiations are in place, “there will be no military compromise, ceasefire, or demilitarized zones,” because “in the past, a ceasefire has translated into advantages for guerrillas, and that cannot happen again.”

The first negotiation phase includes discussions about the agrarian issue, considered an essential point towards conflict resolution, since the FARC and analysts, such as Alejandro Reyes, consider it was the origin of the rise of leftist guerrillas in the 60s.

When this phase is resolved, the agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) provides the following topics on the agenda: illicit drugs; political participation; disarmament; reparation for victims; and finally, the application, verification and endorsement of agreements made.

The government negotiation team that traveled to Havana is also integrated by Frank Pearl, Luis Carlos Villegas, retired Army General Jorge Mora and the High Commissioner for Peace, Sergio Jaramillo.

The other team member, retired Police General Oscar Naranjo, will fly to Havana from Mexico on November 19.

Meanwhile, the FARC delegation that is already in Cuba includes Iván Márquez, number two of the rebel organization, and commanders Rodrigo Granda, Andrés París and Marco Calarcá.

The Colombian government and the FARC announced an agreement to start peace talks in early September.