The armed rebel group FARC and the Colombian government have announced that they have agreed conditions for releasing a captured general and four other people.
A joint statement from Cuba and Norway, who helped broker the deal, said the two sides agreed on the conditions for the release of Colombian army General Ruben Dario Alzate and four others taken captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in recent days.
FARC had blamed the situation on the government for its insistence on negotiating without a ceasefire.
The Colombian army had launched a massive search for Alzate, captured by FARC on Sunday, a move that had derailed peace talks as they hit the two-year mark.
God bless, I'm thrilled, Alzate's wife, Claudia Farfan, sais upon receiving the news. I can't wait for the moment to welcome my husband home.
About 1,500 troops, 10 helicopters and planes, as well as boats and land vehicles had been deployed in the jungle-covered region of Choco to search for Alzate, the highest-ranking military officer to be captured by FARC in five decades of conflict.
Alzate, 55, went missing with Corporal Jorge Rodriguez and army adviser Gloria Urrego as they travelled by boat to visit a civilian energy project in Choco, where the general heads a task force responsible for fighting the rebels and where drug gangs are rife.
Apparently the rebels said that they will also release two other soldiers they have in captivity. Those two soldiers are believed to be troops captured in Arauca, on the other side of the country on the border with Venezuela.
Alzate was dressed in civilian clothes when he was abducted, which President Juan Manuel Santos said was a breach of protocol.
The capture caused Santos to suspend peace talks with the FARC in Havana, the most promising effort yet to end Colombia's 50-year conflict.
The FARC is the largest of the armed groups active in Colombia, with about 8,000 fighters. The conflict, which has at various times drawn in drug traffickers and right-wing paramilitaries, has killed more than 220,000 people and caused more than five million to flee their homes.
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The negotiations were stalled because the general in mysterious circumstances was kidnapped a few days ago.Nov 20th, 2014 - 05:17 pm 0
The negotiations will collapse. I dont see a reason for the FARC leadership to impose their weapons and the narcotics trade. Santos and the political elite will have to secure a deal in which the FARC leadership retains the lucrative business and their military power is transformed into political power. I just dont see how can you do this without selling yourself away and turning a blind eye.
It is an horrendous situation all round, generally speaking. I truly hope that Colombia will overcome these problems soon.Nov 20th, 2014 - 10:43 pm 0
It will be very difficult and there are no 'quick-wins' that I can see.
But they're still talking.Nov 21st, 2014 - 08:26 am 0
The talks have been supposedly on the verge of collapse since they started.
But they haven't.