Colombia’s government sees the end of the country’s armed conflict not as the end, but the beginning of a peace process, Bogota‘s chief negotiator told press Sunday before leaving for Cuba where formal talks with the FARC are set to begin Monday.
“We are leaving for Havana … knowing what we want,” said the government’s chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle. “We want a process with practical, possible agreements, with results and without frustrations.”
In a brief statement, during which reporters were kept at a 30-feet distance and were not allowed to approach the individual negotiators, De la Calle reiterated the government’s position that military operations will not be suspended during the talks, socioeconomic reforms will not be part of the talks, and that citizens will be able to participate in the peace talks through regional meetings and a website.
“Society as a whole will be able to take part with concrete proposals that can nurture the discussion regarding the five points on the agenda through a website and other mechanisms that will be made public in the coming days,” said De la Calle.
The government delegation left Bogota’s military airport without former National Police Director Oscar Naranjo, who is expected to join the team on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The delegation of the FARC has been in Cuba since returning from the official inauguration of the formal part of the peace talks in Norway on October 18.
The formal talks that begin Monday are the first of the so-called “second round.” The “first round” consisted of secret and informal talks held in Cuba since February. A possible third round, reached after the two warring parties have signed a peace deal, consists of the implementation of the peace deal.
If the government and FARC reach an agreement it will mark the official and of the guerrilla group’s 48-year old insurgency against the Colombian state; a war that has left hundreds of thousands of Colombians dead.