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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Guatemala's Ex-President Goes to Court After Night Behind Bars

Perez Molina's jailing followed historic day in which he resigned and country's Congress swore in VP Alejandro Maldonado to serve remainder of his term
More

Puerto Rican Voters Prized by Democrats, Republicans

Five million Puerto Ricans live on US mainland, including nearly 1 million in key swing state of Florida, and they care about what happens back on the island
More

Russia, Venezuela Seek to Combat Oil Price Woes

The price of oil has roughly halved since last year due to oversupply and a decision by the OPEC cartel not to cut production
More

Brazil Denies Rumors Finance Minister Will Quit

Government dismisses market rumors Joaquim Levy quitting because of disagreements over his austerity plan
More

Guatemalan President Resigns Over Corruption Scandal

Judge orders Otto Perez Molina to remain in detention while decision on whether he'll stand trial is pending
More

Video US Men's Soccer Team Eyeing Matches Against Peru, Brazil

Team hoping to bounce back from a disappointing result in Gold Cup, when Jamaica upset US 2-1 in semifinals
More