Tuesday, September 3rd 2013 - 23:53 UTC

Colombia/FARC peace talks at a ‘critical’ stage says government negotiator

Colombia's peace talks with Marxist FARC rebels have reached a “critical” stage, with discussions over the next couple of months a key gauge of whether an end to five decades of war is likely or not, government negotiator Sergio Jaramillo said on Tuesday.

Jaramillo: “we are beginning on essential issues” and in the next months it will be known ‘if this works or not’

The government has spent almost 10 months working through a difficult peace agenda in Cuba with representatives of the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. While some progress has been made, talks have been painstakingly slow and most now see the hoped-for year-end deadline as unlikely.

“We are currently in a critical moment of negotiations, I think that in the next months we will know if this is going to work or not because we are beginning on essential issues,” Jaramillo, one of the six-man government negotiating team, said during an address in congress.

President Juan Manuel Santos said from the very beginning he did not want the talks to drag on indefinitely, putting a November limit on completion. He has since loosened the target date to year-end or some months later.

Unused to seeing rebel leaders taking centre stage and making televised political statements and demands on the government, Colombians have grown impatient over the last few months at the pace of talks.

Meanwhile, the rebels have continued to kill scores of soldiers and attack economic infrastructure, putting additional pressure on Santos to clinch a deal.

The centre-right president took a huge risk seeking peace after numerous attempts by previous governments ended in failure and bolstered the FARC fighting force. The talks have already dominated his agenda and threaten to overwhelm campaigning for next year's presidential election.

“Let's see how we can accelerate these conversations, time is short, people want peace but demand that we advance more quickly,” said Santos during the inauguration of a military hospital in Bogota.

The official agenda includes rebel participation in politics, an end to the conflict, how to eliminate the drug trade, reparations for victims and agrarian reform - on which the two sides have reached partial accord.

But government negotiators have said it could take as long as a decade to implement the accords.
 

4 comments Feed

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1 ChrisR (#) Sep 04th, 2013 - 03:32 pm Report abuse
It seems to me that FARC should have a secondary acronym: FUBAR. They are still killing government soldiers even though they supposedly want peace.

They are at the weakest strength they have ever been, the economy is forging ahead, the citizens don't need this commuinist based shit: exterminate the bastards - all of them, NOW and be done with it.
2 Marco.Tamayo (#) Sep 04th, 2013 - 05:45 pm Report abuse
And the government still kills peasants and poor people. It's the real murder gang.
3 Anglotino (#) Sep 05th, 2013 - 01:18 am Report abuse
@2

No it doesn't. Don't lie!

It's pathetic.
4 Outsider (#) Sep 05th, 2013 - 11:12 am Report abuse
And the government isn´t still killing guerrillas too? While precisely the FARC have asked for a bilateral ceasefire? goo.gl/WZU130.
Asking for extermination of those bastards sounds like fascist rethoric to me, to be against the peace talks and ask for more war is a deep disrespect for colombian people who have been suffering it for such a long time; and I'm sure you don't belong to that group.

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