Colombia’s FARC rebels released a statement Wednesday thanking a group of international politicians who recently expressed their support for the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the country’s oldest rebel group.
Over 200 politicians from the United States and Europe had published a letter the day before expressing their support for the Colombian peace process, which seeks to bring an end to 50 years of armed conflict between the government and the rebels. The letter was endorsed by representatives from the US Congress, UK Parliament, the Irish Parliament, and the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland.
“The FARC appreciates the strong show of support for the Colombian peace process that is currently taking place in Havana, Cuba,” read the FARC statement. “We agree with the signatories that the only option for effective and lasting peace in Colombia is through dialogue and compromise.”
The show of international solidarity comes just days after the Colombian government and the FARC entered the 25th round of peace talks since the start of the formal peace process in November 2012.
According to the government’s chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, the aim for the latest round of talks is to reach a definitive agreement on the topic of drug cultivation and trafficking, the third of six agenda items for the talks.
The FARC’s chief negotiator, alias “Ivan Marquez,” said that the last round of talks saw significant progress. The parties, Marquez said, have almost reached an agreement.
Should formal terms be reached, the next round of talks will move on to the subject of victims of Colombia’s longstanding armed conflict, expected to be one of the more complicated and emotionally charged points on the agenda.
The FARC has been fighting the Colombian state since its formation in 1964 in what has become the oldest internal armed conflict in the world. An estimated six-million Colombians are direct victims of the fighting between rebels, the country’s military and state-aligned paramilitary groups.
Three previous attempts at peace talks between the government and rebels failed, but the Cuba talks have gone uninterrupted since their inception, despite continued hostilities between rebel and public security forces in Colombia.