Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC on Sunday announced the immediate end of a two-month unilateral truce and renewed its call for a bilateral truce to hold peace talks with the government “in a tranquil environment.”
While talking to press in the Cuban capital Havana, the leader of the FARC’s negotiating team, “Ivan Marquez,” said that “with pain in our heart we must admit that we return to the time of military warfare that nobody wants.”
Sunday’s end of the unilateral ceasefire had been announced at the beginning of the peace talks in November.
Just like in November, the FARC called on the government to come to an agreement on a bilateral ceasefire — something the government previously refused claiming the FARC may use a release of military pressure to regroup its units.
President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday said the security forces are ready to face a possible surge in rebel violence.
“The armed forces, like our Army, Air Force, Navy and Police, know exactly what to do come tomorrow,” said Santos at a public event in Padilla, a village in the southwestern Cauca department traditionally hardest hit by guerrilla activity.
Despite the truce, Colombia’s Ombudsman said the FARC had carried out 57 attacks during the 60-day cease fire.
The FARC did not respond to this assertion.
The end of the temporary truce does not mean the end of the peace talks; both government and rebel delegates continue to meet daily in Havana to seek a negotiated end to Colombia’s half-century armed conflict between rebels and state.