Colombian rebels face deadline for peace deal



AFP

Published — Tuesday 4 December 2012

Last update 4 December 2012 3:15 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BOGOTA: Colombian leftist rebels faced yesterday a new deadline for striking a peace deal with the government after President Juan Manuel Santos warned they have less than a year to reach a negotiated end to Latin America’s longest-running insurgency.
The warning on peace talks came after the Colombian military launched a new operation against the FARC rebels at the weekend, in which it said at least 20 rebels were killed.
“This has to be a process of months, rather than years. In other words, this should not last any longer than November next year at the latest,” the president said at an event in the Caribbean resort city of Cartagena.
“But it is important to be patient, and not demand immediate results, because... some very complicated issues are being discussed.”
However, Santos did not specify what will happen if the newly-imposed deadline is not met.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America’s longest running insurgency, started talks formally with Bogota on Oct. 18 in neutral Norway. The talks moved to Havana on Nov. 19 and will resume this week.
It is a conflict that has dragged on for almost a half century, with some 600,000 dead, 15,000 missing and four million people domestically displaced.
Last Thursday, Colombian government and rebel negotiators reported progress in the first peace talks in a decade.
On the delicate process of the FARC making a transition to a civilian political force, Santos said his government would agree to them trading bullets for ballots as long as they were not “politicking with their firearms.”
“If the FARC indeed wants to end the conflict and move from bullets to the ballot box, take part in politics and seek to achieve goals in democratic processes, they will find the government most willing and cooperative,” he said.
“But if what they are seeking is once again to put their revolution by decree on the table, over there in Cuba, and change the constitution and the country and its public policy, there won’t be any peace there,” he warned.
Talks are to resume on Wednesday, and will continue to focus on land reform, the first point on the agenda, the parties said in a joint statement.
In the meantime, the army said the FARC had suffered at least 20 dead after the military launched early Saturday bombing strikes against three of their camps in Narino province, near the border with Ecuador.
According to General Leonardo Barrero, a local military commander, the guerrillas belonged to the mobile Marshal Sucre column who had set up a base in the area.
Previous attempts at peace have failed. In the last effort, which lasted from 1999 to 2002, the government ended talks after concluding the FARC were using a vast demilitarized zone to regroup.
The FARC — founded in 1964 and believed to have some 9,000 armed fighters — took up arms to protest against the concentration of land ownership in Colombia.
The rebels have suffered a string of military defeats in recent years, and several of their top commanders have been captured or killed. FARC ranks have also been severely depleted from its peak in the 1990s.
Ivan Marquez, the FARC’s number two negotiator, has said an agreement reached to hold a public forum in Bogota next month on agrarian development — unequal land distribution is a longstanding problem at the root of the conflict — was the best sign the process is moving forward.
Aside from reaching a deal on land ownership, both sides must also agree on a mechanism to end hostilities, incorporating the FARC into political life, curbing drug trafficking, and on compensating victims of the conflict.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The $22-billion Riyadh Metro project is going on according to the plan despite the fact that many global projects are faltering.“There are many stalled projects all over the world and not in the Kingdom alone, but the metro project in the Sau...
JEDDAH: Four members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) were stabbed by a youth who was allegedly trying to blackmail a girl in Jeddah. The incident happened on Tuesday night and the four officers, who sus...
RIYADH: A recent report released by the Ministry of Labor revealed that the number of violations registered on the ministry’s electronic program “Together for Monitoring” in the months of December 2015 and January 2016 amounted to 484, of which 157 w...
RIYADH: Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih visited the medical complex in Thuwal, near Jeddah, on Tuesday. The facility was set up by Saudi Aramco, whose chairman is the health minister himself.According to the minister, the complex provides primary hea...
JEDDAH: A number of Shoura Council members have voiced objections to some imams who express their personal opinions during Friday sermons.The members asked the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to supervise the sermons to make sure they were written by spe...
MADINAH: Street vendors near the Prophet’s Mosque pose a risk to the country’s reputation and economy besides blocking the way of service cars, Red Crescent and Civil Defense vehicles, an expert has said.Ninety-eight percent of these street merchants...
RIYADH: Appropriate action has been taken against the Haia members who were involved in beating up a girl opposite the Nakheel shopping mall here recently, but the girl was also at fault, a Haia official has clarified.“A probe has revealed that the g...
I am from the east of France but moved to Saudi Arabia from Paris in 1990. I worked for a princess as a French language tutor. I was young and single. I thought it was very exotic and mysterious. I lived in a palace. I left Saudi Arabia in 1992 and c...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) held a symposium on Kashmir and the obligation of Muslim world toward Kashmiris.It was presided by Ali Al-Ghamdi, a former Saudi diplomat. Other guests and speakers at the event were Shahid Nayeem, pres...
DAMMAM: A total of 627 kidney transplant surgeries were performed in the Kingdom last year, bringing the number of kidney transplants, performed since the beginning of the organ donation program, to 9,000 surgeries, said Dr. Faisal Shaheen, director...
ABHA: Saudi women spend more on cosmetics compared to women in the West, the Arab world and even in the Gulf, economic studies show.Recent statistics issued by the Saudi Customs suggest the amount of imported cosmetics in the past year exceeded SR2.3...
RIYADH: A study is under way to provide health insurance to Umrah pilgrims and domestic workers and certain articles of the health regulations needs to be amended, an official has said.According to local media, the statement was made by Mohammed bin...
JEDDAH: The government last year helped over 2,000 children overcome circumstances that forced them to beg or work illegally. The number of children who got help to overcome was 2,039 last year, of which the proportion of the Saudi children was 16 pe...
RIYADH: The number of visitors to the United Kingdom from Saudi Arabia has been steadily increasing from 89,000 in 2009 to 144,000 in 2014.This was revealed at a presentation made to mark the launch of “Visit Britain” program in Riyadh on Wednesday....
NAJRAN: Three members of the Saudi National Guard died in Rabuah, Najran, on Wednesday.National Guard spokesman Maj. Mohammed Omari identified them as Lt. Faisal bin Abdullah Al-Shehri, Lt. Faisal bin Talal Al-Toub and Lt. Saud bin Khaled Al-Rukhayye...

Stay Connected

Facebook