Colombia to restart peace talks with insurgents ELN: “We don’t give up”
(c) 2012, Newscom.co.uk Photos: Peter Brickell & Martin Egan.
After more than three months of talks, Colombia’s president decided last week to reopen negotiations with the FARC, the country’s major communist leftist rebels.
President Juan Manuel Santos, who met with the FARC in Havana, Cuba – just weeks before he signed a trade agreement with Cuba – wants to address the rebels’ political demands.
After the meeting, Santos tweeted his “love and affection” to the rebels:
I had a meeting with the FARC on the 17th of January.
In this moment, Colombia enters into new page of its history.
We’re with you all the way, let’s continue the struggle to free our country.
In this time of peace we believe in the true path: peace, development and peace.
Santos announced the resumption of peace talks with the FARC last Wednesday after meeting with the rebels in Havana.
They had only met twice and he had urged them to end their armed struggle, which many observers believed led to the death of over 220,000 people – the majority civilians – in their 50-year conflict.
Santos’ decision to resume peace talks with the FARC drew quick condemnation from around the world.
“As a United Nations observer group, the International Contact Group, we are deeply disappointed with President Santos’ decision to meet the FARC again,” the group said in a statement released after the meeting.
“The decision to meet again with the FARC at this time would be contrary to the will of the majority of the group’s members, who have called for a ceasefire and have rejected violence as a tactic of political warfare.
“This decision goes against the will of the Colombian people and is unacceptable to the rest of the international community.”
The group added: “It is particularly hard for United States-Colombia trade