A recently signed agreement on agrarian reform between Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC and the government is “transcendent” and “without precedent,” the president of Colombia’s national association of businessmen (ANDI) said Thursday.
ANDI president Luis Carlos Villegas — also a full member of the government’s peace negotiating team, said the signing of the first point at the ongoing peace talks in Havana, Cuba “sets a horizon of rural development in Colombia without precedents.”
Villegas said the agreement was a “road map for the government” and that it was “not for the FARC nor for the political parties, but for the State as such, to realize the true transformation of the Colombian countryside whether or not there is a final peace agreement.”
The ANDI president said he was hopeful that the FARC and the Colombian government could reach agreements on the remaining points on the agenda.
“I’ve said that I’m moderately optimistic but I considered that if we’ve succeed in constructing agreements about the country’s general interests , it would be inexplicable if we can’t construct agreements about the particular interests of the FARC,” said Villegas.
Formal negotiations between the FARC and the Colombian government began in the Norwegian capital of Oslo in October 2012. In November, the peace talks moved to Cuba where they are bound to continue until a final peace accord has been achieved. However, president Juan Manuel Santos has said his government will refuse to negotiate “beyond 2014,” while FARC rebels have criticized putting a “time limit on peace.”
Although the warring parties have signed the agreement on agrarian reform, it reportedly still contains some blanks.
Four negotiation points still remain to be solved by the rebels and the government: Political participation, end of the conflict, drugs and victims.