Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, said Thursday there would be no bilateral ceasefire with the FARC until a final peace accord is reached at the ongoing peace negotiations in Havana, Cuba.
“We keep on fighting…during the process of conversation until we reach an agreement. When we reach an agreement there will be a ceasefire… this is what the large majority of us Colombians yearn for and this is what we are trying to achieve,” said the president during a visit to the southern Caqueta department.
Santos said a bilateral ceasefire would “give an advantage” to the rebels.
“In the past the ceasefires were subject to eternal discussion and [the FARC] used them to strengthen and take in air and keep on going in their strategy of reaching power through violence. We will not allow this.”
During the failed 1998-2002 peace talks between the FARC and the government of ex-president Andres Pastrana, the FARC were given a Switzerland-sized demobilized zone in southwestern Colombia. Eventually, the government accused the rebels of using the area to expand and recruit more troops.
Negotiators from Colombia’s largest rebel group and the government are currently working separately on comprehensive agrarian reform, which is considered the most polemic issue of the six-point agenda. The parties will resume talks on April 18, amid doubts about the FARC’s internal coherence with regard to the negotiations.
According to Colombian newspaper El Espectador, there exists a rift between “Pablo Catatumbo,” the commander of the insurgency’s Western Bloc, and leading FARC negotiator “Ivan Marquez.” Allegedly, Catatumbo said Marquez was only interested in doing “politics for himself.” Catatumbo also expressed discontent with the decision not to include leaders of all the FARC Blocs at the peace talks.
According to the senator Roy Barreras, Catatumbo could join the FARC’s negotiation team in the coming days.
Furthermore, on Wednesday, Carlos Ramiro Chavarro, senator of the south-central Huila department, said it was “worrying” that the FARC’s Teofilo Forero Column and the organization’s Southern Bloc did not have representation at the negotiation table.
“In these processes not everyone demobilizes. Incomplete immobilization is one thing, but if the Southern Bloc of the FARC and the Teofilo Forero [front], which [makes up] the military structure and the financial source, do not demobilize that is another thing,” Chavarro said.
- No habrá cese al fuego hasta que lleguemos a acuerdos, afirma el Presidente Santos (President’s Office)
- Las razones para que ‘Pablo Catatumbo’ y ‘Fabián Ramírez’ estén en La Habana (El Espectador)
- Senador Chávarro pide incluir al Bloque Sur y a la Teófilo Forero en proceso de paz (Diario del Huila)
- Suenan relevos de las Farc en la mesa de diálogos (El Colombiano)