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The End of Colombia’s Conflict? Santos and FARC Reach Agreement

By: Guest Contributor - Jun 22, 2016, 12:31 pm
Members of the negotiating team of the FARC guerrilla in Havana, Cuba
Members of the negotiating group of the FARC guerrillas in Havana, Cuba. (Youtube)

By Julian Villabona

EspañolEarly in the morning of Wednesday, June 22, the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reached an accord on two fundamental points discussed at the Havana peace talks.

The two sides reached an agreement on the bilateral ceasefire as well as the definition of concentration zones for guerrillas. These zones are meant to temporarily verify a process of disarmament, making part of the “end of the conflict,” one of the five points negotiated in Havana. The other points are: rural development, political opposition and citizen involvement, drug dealing and victims’ rights.

The agreement happened after President Juan Manuel Santos asked the officials negotiating in Havana to meet and finish the details on the structure of the bilateral ceasefire agreement. Twenty-six zones around Colombia are expected to temporarily gather the guerrillas and verify their disarmament, leading officials hope, to a definite ceasefire.

“I beg God to give us strength to finish these agreements, hopefully this same week, because we’re about to achieve these agreements,” Santos said at a Bogota event this month. “If negotiators make a last effort to finish this final point, the ceasefire, we’ll have taken a fundamental step toward peace.”

The president is expected to travel this Thursday, June 23 to Havana for a joint event with FARC in which an agreement will be officially announced. It will include the participation of Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki Moon, US State Secretary John Kerry, and Cuban President Raúl Castro.

Despite the agreement, it has yet to be determined how the FARC political participation will be carried out — a point that should have already been negotiated but was postponed during an earlier cycle of negotiations.

This agreement only sets the mechanism by which FARC will leave their arms, including the zones where this procedure will take place and the armament’s final destiny. The negotiations have caused a lot of controversy in Colombia because of the terminology used by officials. A true “entrega” (surrender) of the weapons hasn’t been discussed; only a “dejación” (leaving) of arms.

Source: El Espectador