Colombia’s FARC rebels announced on Sunday that peace talks between the guerrilla group and the government “are heading towards a final agreement” that would end more than 50 years of armed conflict.
Following the end of another round of peace talks in Havana between the government and the FARC, “Ivan Marquez,” head of the rebel delegation, has expressed deep optimism regarding the current status of the peace talks, which began in November 2012.
“We are optimistic. We believe that we are heading in the right direction and that Colombia will reach a peace agreement,” Marquez said.
Since July 20, the FARC have been engaged in a unilateral ceasefire after which the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos ordered a suspension of air strikes. Additionally, the government has been holding back in carrying out ground offensives.
Nevertheless, Marquez asked that the government to “act accordingly” and “rein in unnecessary belligerence from some of the commands.”
The rebel negotiator continued by inviting the government to agree to a bilateral ceasefire, ending hostilities in order “to accompany [the FARC] to the signing of the final agreement.”
The FARC and the government have been negotiating peace since November 2012. Since then, the parties that have been at war since 1964 have agreed on the Marxist FARC’s participation in politics, a far-stretching rural reform that seeks to improve economic conditions on the countryside and the rebels’ abandonment of drug trafficking, which they have used as one of their main sources of income to fund their uprising.
The warring parties still have to agree on justice for the more than 7 million victims generated by the conflict and the specifics of the rebels’ demobilization, disarmament and reintegration.