Peace talks between Colombia’s government and rebel group FARC recommenced on Tuesday for the 10th round of discussions to address the second point on the agenda; post-conflict participation of FARC rebels in politics.
A disagreement has already emerged on the negotiating table, as a request by the FARC’s head representative, Ivan Marquez, to postpone the 2014 election by one year was rejected by the government negotiating team.
“Let us open a national debate on the urgency and the desirability of postponing the electoral timetable by a year,” Marquez told press .
The rebel leader claimed that the timing of the fast-approaching elections was affecting the progress of the peace process, claiming “the electoral and legislative ambitions could damage and even destroy hopes of reconciliation,” due to the time pressure to reach a conclusion.
Head government negotiator Humberto De la Calle immediately dismissed the FARC’s request, which he said “barely contributes” to the development of the talks, and asked the guerrillas to focus on the agreed agenda.
On Tuesday, the negotiating teams in Havana announced that they will be working separately this week, in order to review a number of documents to inform the discussion. The press release states that working individually proved to be an effective mechanism during the last round of peace talks and it will allow delegates to focus on specific issues to discuss during the following week.
De la Calle stated via a press release that the tenth round of talks would look at “how to open a path so that the FARC can be transformed into a political movement and be integrated into democracy with the full exercise of their rights, but also of their duties.”
The government negotiator emphasized that they will be focusing more generally on “the creation of a political movement and not on the people who will come to the policy, which is an issue that should be dealt with later.”
De la Calle also emphasized the importance of involving local communities in politics as a means of promoting democracy and added that “citizens must become active subjects of politics”.
The government representative pointed out that the agreements on political participation and agrarian reform will only apply if the negotiating parties reach “comprehensive agreement” to put an end to the conflict and reiterated that the outcome of the peace talks will be subject to a referendum.
“The ultimate purpose point […] is the termination of the conflict. No more violence. No more blood,” said De la Calle, adding, “It is appropriate to reiterate once more that when we complete the discussion of the six points of the Agenda, the agreement will be subject to a referendum by Colombian citizens.”
Congressman Ivan Cepeda on Monday said that political participation is an issue of major significance, as it is necessary to find a political and democratic solution to complement the progress made on the first point of discussion, land reform, at the end of May.
“I hope the negotiating teams address the second point with the same attitude and efficiency [as the first point] and it would give me peace of mind if we were to reach a conclusion very soon that would give us a solid base and a high probability of a final agreement,” Cepeda told Radio Caracol.
The Havana peace talks have received support from governments and organizations all over the world, however the latest round of peace talks were almost jeopardized due to claims of FARC threats against a labor union and tensions with Venezuela.
On May, 27, the negotiating teams reached an agreement on land reform, which was described as “historic and irreversible” and was seen as a tough point on the agenda to overcome.
- Press Release: Declaracion de Humberto De la Calle
- Press Release: Comunicado Conjunto #17
- Rifirrafe de Gobierno y Farc por propuesta de aplazar calendario electora (El Espectador)
- Gobierno responde a las Farc que no aplazará calendario electoral (Radio Caracol)
- Expectativa al inicio de las negociaciones de paz entre el Gobierno y las Farc (Radio Caracol)