Colombian government spokespeople will arrive today, January 12, to Havana to resume peace talks with FARC-EP rebels, which could see greater progress made toward reaching a final agreement, reported Caracol Radio.
According to President Juan Manuel Santos himself, the Colombian government intends to establish a type of permanent commission, to replace the current cyclical model, which will work continuously until a peace accord is signed.
We want to advance talks and bring them to a satisfactory end, hopefully before March 23 – the previously established date – reported the President after a meeting held in Cartagena de Indias with representatives to the talks. After Colombian government and FARC-EP delegations reached an agreement on victims’ rights which includes an integrated system for truth, justice and reparations, the two parties must now address other controversial issues such as a ceasefire, disarmament and demobilization of the rebels. Nonetheless, attorney Humberto de la Calle, head of the government delegation, admitted that the most difficult issues to resolve are the conditions under which a definitive bilateral ceasefire should be declared, as well as mechanisms to be used for the people’s approval of the full agreement.
While the Colombian government is calling for a national referendum, the FARC-EP is requesting a National Constituent Assembly be held.
Despite progress made during talks, which have been taking place in Cuba since 2012, advisor to the process and former British Cabinet minister Jonathan Powell, noted that the final phase of an important process such as this is always the most difficult, while highlighting that the talks have passed a crucial juncture and success seems possible.
As a result of the talks the two delegations have reached agreements on issues such as land reform, political participation, the fight against drug trafficking and the rights of victims, of which there are over seven million. The over 50 year armed conflict has resulted in 300,000 civilian deaths.