The Colombian government’s negotiating team is set to travel to Cuba on April 17 for the resumption of the peace talks with Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC.
The negotiating team will prioritize an agreement on land reform, before addressing the second point of discussion: the future of the FARC’s political participation.
The High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo spoke optimistically of the potential impact the recent arrival of high profile FARC members to the negotiating table.
“Obviously the more influential [FARC] members there are, the stronger the table will be and the better the results,” Jaramillo said.
Amongst new FARC additions to the negotiating progress, is senior commander Pablo Catatumbo, who will be the third member of the rebel group’s Secretariat to join the table.
With the process on the eve of resumption, chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle made a plea to the critics of the peace talks, asking that they not to derail the negotiations.
“A final agreement will be transmitted to the citizens and then the opposition will be able to vote, and in this way their criticism will be heard,” de la Calle said.
This next installment of the peace talks, which began in October of last year, comes in the wake of a large scale demonstration of support for a peace agreement. At a march last week in Bogota hundreds of thousands of Colombians took to the streets. Yet many others, including some prominent politicians, are pessimistic about the possibility of success, and highly critical of the legitimacy of the peace talks.
The government team will receive its final instructions from President Juan Manuel Santos before travelling to Havana on Wednesday.