Colombia’s government is to meet with FARC guerrilla representatives on October 5th in Norway’s capital Oslo to formally negotiate a peace agreement to end the country’s 48-year old armed conflict, reported RCN Radio Monday.
Monday’s report by RCN follows a week of media claims that the government had begun preliminary talks with the FARC in Cuba. Senior government representatives and the brother of Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos reportedly met with members of the guerrilla group’s political leadership to negotiate the conditions for formal peace talks in an effort to end the conflict which has ravaged the country since 1964. RCN said former president Cesar Gaviria will also.
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, who last week said that he wanted to engage with the FARC to end the 48-year old conflict, met with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in Santa Marta in Northern Colombia, where Santos requested Venezuelan assistance to mediate the preliminary talks, according to RCN.
The government’s agenda has six basic themes which include FARC demobilization, ceasefire and the decommissioning of arms, all issues which have limited past efforts at negotiations. The guerrilla group’s conditions consist of agricultural reform, renegotiation of multinational involvement in oil and mining industries, environmental issues and the involvement of social organizations in the eventual peace talks.
Former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe has rejected the peace talks with the armed guerrillas while the majority of political parties in Colombian Congress supported the negotiations. The talks at this stage only involve the FARC although the government reportedly contacted the ELN with no response.
Norway, home of the Nobel Peace Prize, has been the location for a number of peace talks in the past, including Palestine-Israeli peace negotiations and more recently those of the Philippines.
The Norwegian government was at this stage unable to confirm for Colombia Reports that it would host the peace talks in October.