Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, have announced a ceasefire of three weeks to allow elections scheduled for June 15 to take place without guerrilla attacks.
|Colombia’s 2014 elections|
The ceasefire was announced by the FARC’s commander-in-chief, “Timochenko,” in an open letter directed to hard-line presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga who has been critical of ongoing peace talks between the group and the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos, who is seeking reelection.
“Our units are aware that the suspension of offensive actions against enemy forces and state infrastructure from midnight Monday until midnight June 30,” the FARC chief said in a letter published on the guerrillas’ website.
Timochenko said he had wanted to declare the ceasefire jointly with the smaller rebel group ELN, but claimed that difficulties in the communication between the two guerrilla organizations forced him to solely declare the ceasing of hostilities.
The ceasefire is the third this year; During congressional elections in March and the first election round in May, the FARC also declared a ceasefire.
Government and rebel negotiators have been talking since late 2012 to seek a negotiated end to a 40-year-long conflict that has left more than 220,000 Colombians killed and millions displaced.
FARC and government negotiators earlier Saturday announced that as part of ongoing talks regarding these victims, both recognized their responsibility towards their victims and will invite victim representative groups to the talks.
So far, the negotiators have found agreement on three previous points on the agenda; rural reform, the FARC’s political participation and the rebels’ abandoning of drug trafficking. Following an agreement on how victims should be dealt with and the logistics of the armed group’s dismantling, a formal accord will be signed.
The two negotiating partners have not been able to agree on a bilateral ceasefire to prevent the FARC from using the absence of military pressure to reorganize themselves militarily.
- Cese el fuego electoral (FARC-EP)