Colombia’s FARC rebels on Monday called for demilitarized zones where demobilizing guerrillas can concentrate in the event of a peace deal or truce with the government.
The peace talks to end the country’s 51-year-long armed conflict began little more than three years ago and are approaching their end.
Both the government and the FARC have said to hope for a truce before Christmas and a peace deal before the end of March next year.
In the event of a peace deal, the FARC will have to demobilize approximately 20,000 members. This includes both armed guerrillas and unarmed members of support networks.
Such demobilization would take place in designated areas, how many is still under negotiation.
President Juan Manuel Santos has said he wants the FARC to concentrate its forces before the coming into force of the eventual truce.
However, the FARC said Monday, the government would have to retreat the military from these “special peace territories” and allow foreign observers to guarantee the safety of the guerrillas.
In these areas, the FARC hopes to develop projects that allows members to repair their victims and possibly be detained if guilty of war crimes.
However, “the basic security condition” for the creation of these zones is “their necessary demilitarization,” FARC negotiator “Rodrigo Granda” told press in Havana, Cuba, where the talks are held.
The FARC wants these demilitarized zones in areas where the rebels have traditionally had a strong presence and have long been the primary authority, according to French press agency AFP.
In order to verify promised efforts to reconcile with and repair the victimized local population, the guerrillas requested the presence of the United Nations, and regional bodies UNASUR and CELAC.
These international bodies would also oversee the guerrilla organization’s transition to a political party and its members’ compliance to transitional justice.
The government did not immediately respond to the FARC proposals.