Delegations from the Colombian government and leftist FARC rebel group met again in Havana, Cuba, Friday for the start of the newest round of ongoing peace talks.
Negotiations continue to revolve around the long-contested issue of illegal drug production and consumption, the third topic in a six-item agenda.
At the end of the previous cycle last month, both sides expressed their hope of promptly concluding the discussion on drug production, which has traditionally served as a major source of financing for the guerrilla organization.
Discussions have reportedly been divided into three parts: crop substitution, abuse prevention, and production and sales. The latter is the most controversial of the three points, since it implicates the FARC in drug trafficking, an issue that has exacerbated Colombia’s long-standing armed conflict.
The two factions began discussing the issue in late 2013, after reaching a historic deal on the subject of political participation for a demobilized guerrilla.
The peace talks, which began in November 2012, are currently entering their 23 cycle.
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 Colombian military and state-aligned paramilitary groups.
The rebel group is currently negotiating a political way out of the conflict with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.
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 back in Colombia.