Peace talks between Colombia’s government and the country’s largest rebel group FARC that were expected to resume on Monday have been pushed forward for a week, the two delegations announced Thursday.
The two delegations sent out a joint press statement saying the talks will be resumed on July 28 instead of July 22 as previously agreed. Neither delegation disclosed why the talks were delayed.
According to the press statement, the two delegations have talked separately since the beginning of the second chapter of talks and will exchange and debate proposals once getting together again.
The FARC and the government began talking about the rebel group’s political participation on July 1. According to both delegations, the talks have not moved beyond the first of three issued included in the second chapter of the negotiations.
Chapter 2. Political participation
1. Rights and guarantees for the exercise of the political opposition in general and in particular for the new movements that arise after the signing of the Final Agreement. Access to the media.
2. Democratic mechanisms of citizen participation, including those of direct participation, on different levels and diverse themes.
3. Effective measures to promote greater participation in the national, regional and local policy of all sectors, including the most vulnerable population, equality of conditions and with guarantees of security.
The delay comes at less than half a year before the end of a government deadline imposed on the talks that have so far resulted in a deal on agrarian reform, widely considered the most thorny of five issues.
However, the issue of political participation revealed there still exists a wide gap between the state and the rebels who demand a constituent assembly be held to seek popular approval of an eventual peace accord and the embedding of this accord in the country’s constitution. The government has fiercely opposed this idea.
If successful, the peace talks will end the FARC’s nearly half-a-century long war with the Colombian state during which hundreds of thousands of Colombians were killed.