“Timochenko,” the supreme leader of Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC, has visited ongoing peace talks with the government in Havana, the government confirmed on Thursday.
Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo confirmed at a press conference that Rodrigo Londoño, the real name of the FARC chief, traveled to Cuba with government authorization to meet with rebel delegates.
According to a press release, Timochenko traveled to Cuba on two occasions. The trips had been requested by the government and were coordinated by the governments of Norway, Chile, Venezuela, and Cuba, who are guarantors and sponsors of the talks.
The trips were to allow the FARC chief to meet with his fellow-rebels, not to personally take part in the peace talks.
According to the government, Timochenko did not meet with government delegation members.
The minister’s announcement came after Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told press earlier on Thursday morning that “military intelligence” had found out that that the FARC chief had traveled to Cuba “on several occasions,” indicating that the Defense Minister and the military were kept in the dark about the trip.
News website Las 2 Orillas reported that during one of the two trips, the FARC met with a delegation of Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, led by leader Nicolas Rodriguez, nom de guerre “Gabino.”
According to the website, the meeting was approved by the Colombian government and attended by Peace Commissioner Sergio Jaramillo, one of the members of the government’s peace delegation.
Peace talks with the FARC have been ongoing since 2012 while talks with ELN are pending.
The government and the FARC are currently on break from discussing the reparation of victims. A new round will begin on October 20.