FARC under Government Pressure Prior to Resuming Peace Talks

By Dialogo
December 06, 2012

Colombian authorities increased pressure on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) before resuming the peace talks in Cuba this week, by setting a deadline of less than a year to reach the peace agreement and launching a military attack that could have resulted in dozens of dead guerrillas.

On December 3, President Juan Manuel Santos stated on his Twitter account that he felt “positive” about the development in the first round of negotiations with the FARC, which resumed on December 5, in Havana.

However, “no one is considering modifying the time frame of negotiations. Months, not years,” said Santos hours after meeting his delegates for the talks in Havana.

In a speech on December 2, the Colombian president highlighted that negotiations must be finalized by November 2013 at the latest.

Officially, there is no limit for the end of the negotiations, and the guerrillas, who insist on addressing the social causes of the conflict, have already expressed their rejection to “immediate peace.”

The talks with the oldest guerrilla group in Latin America were formally initiated in Oslo, Norway, last October, and then transferred to Cuba on November 19.

The agrarian problem was the first of five agenda topics to be discussed on the island until both parties took a five-day break on November 29, while sending public messages of hope at the same time.

The Colombian government has rejected establishing a truce before reaching a final agreement, while the FARC committed to a unilateral ceasefire for two months, until January 20.

The rebel negotiating team was still in Havana before talks resumed late on December 5, and they met with envoys of the International Committee of the Red Cross to request that the talks with the government are recognized under the provisions of the Geneva Convention.

This Convention imposes rules and limitations for militants in armed conflict, while protecting prisoners of war and the civilian population.