News / Americas

    Colombian Government, Rebels Trade Barbs as Talks Recess

    FILE - Humberto de la Calle, head of Colombia's government negotiation team, speaks at a press conference at the close of the thirteenth round of peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in Havana, Cuba, Aug. 28, 2013.
    FILE - Humberto de la Calle, head of Colombia's government negotiation team, speaks at a press conference at the close of the thirteenth round of peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in Havana, Cuba, Aug. 28, 2013.
    Reuters
    The Colombian government and left-wing FARC rebels ended a 14th round of peace negotiations on Thursday saying they had made progress on part of a six-point agenda, even as they accused each other of violating the principles underlying the talks.
     
    A joint statement said the parties “continue advancing in developing and writing up accords ... around the second point of the agenda on political participation,” including rights and guarantees for the exercise of political opposition.
     
    But Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) accused the government of attempting to unilaterally impose conditions on any future peace agreement.
     
    And the government said the talks were going too slowly and chided the rebels for using them as an opportunity to spout irrelevant rhetoric.
     
    At issue for the rebels is a government initiative approved by the Colombian Constitutional Court in August that would allow for the prosecution of FARC leaders and a proposed referendum, currently before lawmakers, that would make any peace deal conditional on a popular vote set to occur during national elections next year.
     
    A statement issued by the rebels said the government could not expect to act as both part of the conflict and then judge responsibility. It proposed a constitutional assembly, not a referendum, to ratify and enact a peace agreement.
     
    “It is urgent to return to respecting the bilateral nature of the talks to inspire confidence and continue forward,” the FARC statement said.
     
    The end game of any agreement and compensation to war victims are two of the points on the agenda both parties agreed to negotiate before the talks began 10 months ago.
     
    Deadline looms
     
    The Colombian government wants a peace accord by the November start of a national electoral cycle, a deadline both parties and observers now say will not be met and may complicate the talks. That process concludes with a presidential vote in May, 2014.
     
    President Juan Manuel Santos, who is expected to run for a second term, has staked his legacy on bringing an end to the conflict.
     
    The government's lead negotiator, former Vice President Humberto de la Calle, accused the FARC of “excessive rhetoric over the most diverse aspects of the nation's life, that have nothing to do with the agenda.”
     
    He said the slow pace of the talks contravened the original agreement to negotiate “in an expedited manner and as quickly as possible,” and that he expected a quicker pace at the next round.
     
    The war, which has raged for 50 years and is the last major guerilla conflict in Latin America, has taken the lives of more than 200,000 Colombians, mostly civilians, displaced millions and weighed down the fourth-largest economy in the region.
     
    The FARC, the larger of two guerrilla groups, with some 8,000 troops, has repeatedly stated  that an agreement cannot include prison time for any of its leaders.
     
    The government has been working toward negotiations with the second group, the Colombian National Liberation Army, with about 3,000 members.
     
    The talks recess every few weeks, then resume, with the next round set to begin Oct. 3. They are being facilitated by Cuba and Norway and hosted in Havana even as fighting continues in Colombia.
     
    Earlier in the talks the two sides settled on a partial accord on agrarian reform. Along with political participation, they still have before them the issues of reparations to war victims, the narcotics trade, ceasing hostilities and implementing the agreement.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    WHO Chief Going to Olympics, Says Zika Risk Low

    Worries about security, the Zika virus and an economic crisis could deter travelers, with just under a third of event tickets as yet unsold

    Brazilian Drug Lord Found Serving Time in Paraguay Prison ‘VIP’ Suite

    Raided by authorities, three-room ‘cell’ was found to have library, kitchen, conference room and even a plasma television

    Uruguay Formally Ends its Presidency of Mercosur Trade Bloc

    Ministry statement said there are no legal arguments for blocking transfer of presidency to Venezuela, it stopped short of announcing that Venezuela would now lead South American group

    Court: Brazil's Lula to Stand Trial for Obstruction of Justice

    Brazil's ex-president officially a defendant in sprawling corruption probe focused on state-run oil company Petrobras

    Australian Olympic Team Evacuated for Dorm Fire

    Small fire in basement of team living quarters caused no injuries; quality of Olympic housing for athletes sparks complaints

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought