The Colombian government has ruled out discussing military doctrine during the peace talks with FARC, which are currently underway in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
“It is absolutely clear that Colombia’s military doctrine will not be negotiated…nor will we cease military operations,” declared lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle Monday. “Today…the survival of democracy rests on the shoulders of our soldiers and police,” he added. “The negotiating table is limited only to the issues on the agenda.”
Fellow senior government delegate Jorge Mora echoed the sentiment saying, “Our soldiers can absolutely rest assured that we will not accept a diminution of the armed forces, its budget…nor will we discuss changing military doctrine.”
President Juan Manuel Santos has consistently held that he will not sanction an end to military operations unless and until a peace accord has been reached with FARC rebels.
In an effort to sell the peace process to conservative hardliners, Santos has appointed several high-profile military and police figures as senior delegates at the peace talks. Mora himself was commander of the army between 1998 and 2002, during the government of Andres Pastrana. Oscar Naranjo, who is also a lead negotiator, spent 35 years with the National Police before retiring as its director earlier this year.
FARC and government representatives are currently engaged in negotiations in Norway to reach a negotiated settlement to the civil war, which has lasted nearly half a century.
The central issues up for discussion are: agrarian reform, the political participation of FARC, illicit crops, a ceasefire and the rights of victims.
If an initial agreement is reached between the two parties, talks relating to implementation will continue in Havana, Cuba.
Since FARC formed in 1964, numerous Colombian presidents have tried and failed to broker a peace deal with the rebels. The latest effort took place ten years ago, during the Pastrana presidency (1998-2002).