Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, on Sunday called on the government to accept a bilateral ceasefire, claiming this would increase the possibilities of coming to a final peace deal in a shorter period of time.
Talking to reporters at a press conference in the Cuban capital of Havana, chief rebel negotiator “Ivan Marquez” stressed that the talks had produced a number of partial agreements.
“The country should know that until now there are more than 30 sheets containing agreements between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP … and that this progress fills us with optimism to continue,” said Marquez, responding to President Juan Manuel Santos who had urged negotiators to accelerate the talks as public support is dropping.
The rebels accused Santos of slowing down the negotiations by pushing legislation related to the peace talks and ordering an intensification of operations in order to weaken the rebel structures in the south of the country.
“The government should not in the same trap as always, pretending to make the peace process a farce of submission. We want to reconcile, not surrender,” Marquez said.
Instead of intensifying the military conflict, the rebel leader reiterated his group’s support for a bilateral ceasefire for the duration of the talks.
“Over the past year, in the middle of confrontations, a lot has been constructed in terms of agreements. How much more would we have achieved if the government had accepted to grant Colombians the tranquility that can be derived from a bilateral ceasefire and an end to hostilities?” Marquez rhetorically asked the reporters.
Delegates of the FARC and the Santos administrations have been involved in formal peace talks since November last year. The government has refused previous calls for a bilateral ceasefire amid fear the rebels might use the absence of military pressure to reorganize their fighters.
- A LOS BUITRES QUE VIVEN DE LA MUERTE (FARC-EP)