Rebel group FARC, currently engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government, will only be able to take part in politics after having disarmed, one of the government negotiators said Tuesday.
Retired General Jorge Mora, one of the negotiators and former commander of Colombia’s armed forces, said at a forum in Cali that the FARC must at least symbolically take distance from their weapons. The FARC has always insisted on laying down, but not surrendering their weapons.
According to FARC negotiator “Andres Paris,” the “government will not have a photo” registering the FARC’s disarmament.
However, according to Mora the FARC must take distance from their arms.
“In processes like these two forms have been used; One is the surrender [of weapons] and the other [is] laying down the weapons with a symbolic act like throwing the arms in the sea, making a sculpture … If they don’t want a photo there will be none, but the government must know how many weapons the guerrillas laid down and where they are.”
The FARC and the government have been formally engaged in peace talks since November last year and are currently discussing the FARC’s possible future participation in Colombia’s politics.
Mora, who as army commander led an effective campaign that pushed the rebels away from the cities and highways in the first years of the century, is considered one of the hardliners in the government peace negotiation. The former general enjoys strong support among Colombia’s armed forces.
If successful, the conflict between the FARC and the government that has been fought since 1964 will come to an end and the rebel group will be taken off international terrorist organization lists. However, it would not mean the absolute end to the armed conflict as the country’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, has not yet begun formal peace talks. Additionally, groups formed from the demobilized paramilitary umbrella organization AUC continue to commit acts of political violence.