The peace delegation of the Colombian government will not discuss the possible political participation of individual FARC commanders and fighters, said the chief government negotiator on Thursday.
Following a meeting with members of the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos, chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle said the negotiations regarding the FARC’s political participation will be about the organization as a whole, and will not touch the possible political ambition of individual members, some of who are wanted for war crimes.
“We are talking about a political force, the result of the [peace] process and integrated by former fighters. Not the specific people who can participate,” said De la Calle while meeting with his fellow-negotiators, adding that the political ambitions of individual FARC members “corresponds to another point on the agenda.”
“What this [second point on the peace talks agenda] is about is changing weapons for ideas,” said the chief negotiator.
The fate of individual members of the FARC will be discussed in point three of the agenda, which is about the actual end of the conflict. While discussing this, the FARC and government agreed that “the National Government, will coordinate the revision of the situation of individuals, charged or convicted, for belonging to or collaborating with the FARC-EP.”
Rebel and government negotiators have been meeting separately since Monday, the beginning of the negotiation round, to debate the participation of the rebel group that has been at war with the State since 1964.
According to the preliminary agreement between the two warring parties, the agenda of this negotiation round consists of the following:
- 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.
- Democratic mechanisms of citizen participation, including those of direct participation, on different levels and diverse themes.
- 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 government and rebels have already found agreement on the first and widely considered the most thorny, issue on the agenda; a reform of Colombia’s agrarian life that has suffered most of the war and is in need of far-stretching reforms to reduce poverty.
The peace talks began in Cuba in November and, according to the government, may not last until the end of this year.
If successful, the peace talks will mean the end to almost 50 years of violence between the FARC and the state.