Colombia’s government delegates and FARC rebels announced on Wednesday that they have overcome a “crisis” in ongoing peace talks that surged after the guerrillas captured an army general.
In a joint communique, the two delegations present in Havana, Cuba, said that “we consider the crisis overcome” and “have agreed that the next round of conversations will take place between December 10 and 17.”
The announced resumption of talks followed after the negotiators agreed to “proceed with the issue of de-escalating the conflict in order to reach an agreement on this as soon as possible.”
The most concrete thing the delegations would say about this de-escalation of the armed conflict was that they “agreed to establish a permanent mechanism, through the guarantor countries, to facilitate the solution of eventual crises that could occur in the future.”
The de-escalation of the country’s 50-year-long conflict had not become an issue until the capture of General Ruben Dario Alzate in the western Choco state in mid-November.
The historic rebel capture forced President Juan Manuel Santos to unilaterally suspend the talks, demanding the release of the general, his two companions, and two soldiers who had been captured in combat weeks before.
However, following the general’s release on Sunday, negotiators traveled to Cuba to begin discussing the de-escalation of the armed conflict that is ongoing as agreements was never reached over a ceasefire for the duration of the talks.
When Alzate on Monday took the responsibility for his own captivity and resigned, Santos said on Twitter he considered the crisis “a closed chapter.”
However, the FARC have used the crisis to revive an old demand; a bilateral ceasefire for the duration of the talks. FARC leader “Timochenko” warned the president that the next time the head of state suspended the talks they “would not be resumed this easily.”
The warring parties have been talking since 2012 and have since then found agreement on the FARC’s future political participation, a rural reform and the guerrillas’ abandoning of drug trafficking.
Once the negotiators retake the original agenda on December 10, they will continue discussing victims, the last agenda point before negotiating the final end to the conflict.