The first round of formal peace talks between the FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government ended on Thursday.
“Progress has been on target,” said Humberto de la Calle, the government’s lead negotiator from Havana, Cuba.
De la Calle highlighted the advances that both sides have made regarding the first point on the peace agenda — agricultural reform. The FARC have made this one of its main demands for ending its 48-year war against the State.
The government’s lead negotiator also emphasized the successful inclusion of Colombian society that has taken place thus far in the peace process. “The government gives special importance to…broad and pluralistic participation through proposals to enrich the discussion of the items on the agenda,” said de la Calle.
Colombia’s National University on Wednesday announced it will collaborate with the United Nations to host a series of public forums on December 17, 18 and 19 in Bogota, where citizens can submit their own agricultural reforms to the government’s negotiating team. Colombians who do not live in Bogota will still be able to participate.
“Society as a whole,” de la Calle said earlier this month, “will be able to take part…[in] the discussion regarding the five points on the agenda through a website.” According to the BBC, both the government and the FARC will create websites that will be operable beginning December 7.
“This is a modern process that takes advantage of various tools which allow us the pluralism that we want in participation,” said de la Calle before adding that he and the other negotiators will continue analyzing the issues that lie ahead.
The remaining four points on the agenda are: negotiating an end to the armed conflict, ensuring the FARC’s right to exercise formal political opposition, the rebels agreeing to stop trafficking drugs, and compensating the victims of the conflict via truth and reconciliation.
“We want…concrete commitments and results based on the two main objectives ahead: ending the conflict and building a stable and lasting peace,” de la Calle said before boarding a plane headed back to Bogota.
Talks are set to resume on December 5.