Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC have announced a unilateral ceasefire on the first day of peace negotiations with the government.
The ceasefire will take effect on Tuesday and last until January 20, said “Ivan Marquez,” the chief negotiator of the guerrilla group.
The FARC on Monday began peace talks with representatives of Colombia’s national government to put an end to the rebels’ nearly half-a-century insurgency against the state.
Marquez told press that his group was calling a ceasefire minutes before entering the negotiations that are being held in the Cuban capital of Havana.
“This policy decision of the FARC is a contribution made to strengthen the climate of understanding necessary so that the parties that are starting the dialogue achieve the purpose desired by all Colombians,” the rebel leader said.
The FARC has called for a bilateral ceasefire on several occasions but were confronted with negative responses from the Colombian government which have feared that the rebels will use a military ceasefire to the FARC’s military advantage.