The Colombian government said it is ready to consider a ceasefire with the leftist rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known as FARC. There is now a chance that the truce could put an end to a 50-year-old conflict. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reported this story from Bogota, Colombia.
In a televised address to the nation, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said “peace was closer than ever” and his government was ready for a truce with the rebel group.
Colombian government will consider ceasefire with FARCThe Colombian government said it is ready to consider a ceasefire with the leftist rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known as FARC. There is now a chance that the truce could put an end to a 50-year-old conflict. CCTV America's Michelle Begue reported this story from Bogota, Colombia
“I have given instructions to the negotiators to initiate as soon as possible a discussion on the point of the definitive bilateral ceasefire and end of hostilities,” President Santos said.
The Colombian government has refused previous requests by the leftist rebel group to have a joint ceasefire, saying that FARC would use it to rearm.
The new announcement came as Santos said this could be the year for Colombia’s long awaited peace, and that the declared unilateral truce by the FARC last December, was “a step in the right direction.”
The FARC welcomed the announcement in a press release on the group’s website, saying this could be a prelude to the end of the conflict.
However, the announcement has been met with criticism from former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s political Party, the Democratic Center. Senator Paloma Valencia argueed the FARC has not kept their promise of a unilateral ceasefire this month.
“There is information that shows soldiers have fallen victim to landmines,” Valencia said. “That there have been confrontations between the military and the FARC, and that they are still extorting and working in illegal mining, illicit crops and drug trafficking.”
On Wednesday the FARC announced they had killed eight soldiers in what they called a “defensive response” from attacks by the Colombian military. Santos said despite these deaths, the FARC has complied with their promise to stop attacks.
Government officials said there is still no official order by the president to suspend attacks against the FARC, but talks between the two will resume on Jan. 26, when peace negotiators return to Havana, Cuba from their winter recess.