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Peace talks

Colombia’s congress welcomes FARC ceasefire with cautious optimism

posted by Adriaan Alsema

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Colombia news - Ivan Marquez

Members of Colombia’s Congress on Monday welcomed the announcement of rebel group FARC to unilaterally call a ceasefire. Critics showed caution however, claiming the FARC has broken promises before.

Senator Roy Barreras, chairman of the Senate’s Peace Commission, called the ceasefire “a sign of peace, a gesture that must be valued and allows to be more optimistic about the end of the conflict” fought between rebels and state since 1964.

“I think we are talking about a unilateral ceasefire, as in, there will be no more terrorism, no more car bombs, … killings, violence against innocent people. I receive this ceasefire as an act of peace that edges towards the end of the conflict,” Barreras added.

Guillermo Rivera, representative for the troubled Putumayo department, said the announcement was “good news” that “shows their will to talk.”

Critics of the peace process responded with reserve. “We hope that all the blocs and all people who make up the FARC listen to what is said from Havana,” said Senator Juan Carlos Velez, a staunch ally of former President Alvaro Uribe who has opposed dialogues with the rebels since they became known in August.

FARC negotiator “Ivan Marquez” announced the unilateral ceasefire minutes before the first formal meeting between delegates of the FARC and the Colombian government. The two warring parties are in the Cuban capital of Havana with the intention of ending the nearly 50-year-old conflict.

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