Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos confirmed Tuesday that his government and guerrilla group FARC have signed an agreement outlining negotiations for peace.
In a televised speech, Santos explained the peace negotiations consist of three agreed phases.
In phase one, which has been concluded “we defined a closed agenda, rules and procedures to move forward. This is what we have signed,” said Santos.
The second phase which is beginning now, “will be outlined with reserved and direct working sessions. It will be a discussion, without interruptions and without intermediaries, about agreed points to reach the final agreement.”
“And with that final agreement the conflict would formally be over,” the president added.
The third, post-conflict phase consists of “the simultaneous implementation of all agreements, with the appropriate safeguards, verification mechanisms and citizen participation.”
The final agreement on peace between the government and the FARC will contain five elementary points.
These points together “constitute an integral formula for the effective termination of the conflict and to advance the construction of a stable and lasting peace.”
According to Santos, delegations of the government and the FARC will travel to the Norwegian capital of Oslo in the first half of October to begin the formal talks. Later talks will be held in the Cuban capital of Havana.
Santos thanked the governments of both nations for their assistance in the process.
The president also expressed his appreciation for the FARC. “Everything that has been agreed upon so far, has been respected.”
According to the President, this peace process is different and will not fail like previous attempts to negotiate the end of the armed conflict.
“The deal is different because it contains no demilitarized zones and because there is no cessation of military operations,” said Santos referring to the 1999 attempt at peace when the government granted a demilitarized zone the size of Switzerland to the guerrillas who used it to grow and strengthen their operations.
Additionally, the government and the FARC agreed on a time limit of “months, not years.”
Santos vowed to avoid impunity over crimes committed by the FARC. “All Colombians are entitled to know what happened and who is responsible,” he said.
The now-official and formal peace talks with the FARC are the first since 2002 when negotiations failed.