Colombia’s largest rebel group will not disarm until it is recognized as a political movement, according to a FARC peace talks negotiator.
A FARC negotiator in the peace talks, Jesus Emilio Carvajalino, alias “Andres Paris,” indicated that a future bilateral ceasefire and disarmament deal between Colombia’s largest rebel group and the government will not be initiated swiftly, according to news wire AFP.
“What’s going to make our weapons disappear is turning our guerrilla force into a political party, not handing over our arms,” said the FARC negotiator from Havana, Cuba, where the negotiations are taking place.
“What’s going to make our weapons disappear is turning our guerrilla force into a political party, not handing over our arms.”
Paris added that the largest guerrilla group in Colombia has never mentioned a complete disarmament.
“No one has suggested to the FARC, nor have we ever said to the government, that there would be a single moment when we would hand over our arms. I repeat, there will be no photo op of the FARC handing over its arms,” Paris stated.
Paris’ statement follows the government’s announcement Friday of a sub-committee, which is in the process of discussing a bilateral ceasefire.
The sub-committee’s goal is to to discuss various options and models for disarmament, demobilization, and eventual ceasefire, which would be implemented in the event of a final agreement.
ELN also demands political recognition
The top commander of National Liberation Army (ELN) Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias “Gabino,” stressed in a letter Monday that in order to negotiate a peace, the government must recognize the conflict’s political origin, and guarantee that no one is excluded, murdered, or prosecuted for their political ideas.
Gabino claimed that Colombia’s political insurgency is a product of the left’s inability to find legal arenas for their political action.
The statement was from an open letter from the top commander of ELN, the the second largest guerrilla group in Colombia. The letter also stated that the ELN will answer for their part in the armed conflict that has terrorized Colombia and its citizens for 50 years.
Commission to decide origin and impact of conflict
Additionally, the “Historical Commission of the Conflict and Its Victims” assembled last week for the first week, according to an official statement from the head of governments’ peace talk delegation.
The objective of the commission is to produce a report of the origins and multiple causes of the armed conflict; about the conditions and factors that have contributed to the long duration of the conflict, and the impact and consequence it has had on the Colombian population.
The report will give background and contribute to understanding of the conflict without establishing individual responsibility or placing blame, the official statement claims, despite criticism from Colombia’s Inspector General.
The commission consist of twelve experts each making their own report, which will be gathered in a final report by two rapporteurs. The final reports is set to be finished in mid December.
- FARC negotiator says disarming will be ‘long process’ (AFP)
- Press release by Oficina del Alto Comisionado para la Paz