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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Time Almost Up for Argentina, US Bondholders in Debt Talks

South American nation has until end of Wednesday to either pay in full 'holdout' hedge funds, cut a deal or win a stay on court order that triggeered deadline
More

Football Star's Stepfather Kidnapped, Released

Lawyer for family of Argentina's Carlos Tevez said player's stepfather appeared to be unharmed
More

Video Young Migrants From Central America Risk Life and Limb to Get to US

For tens of thousands of young people trip north is fraught with hardship and danger
More

Mother of Slain Mexican Teen Sues US Border Patrol

Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, was in Nogales, Mexico on October 10, 2012, when US agent shot him through border fence from Arizona
More

Planning Post-2015 Development

UNDP official calls for investing in people
More

Magnitude 6.3 Quake hits Mexico, No Major Damages, Injuries

Earthquake hit southwest of Juan Rodriguez, in eastern Mexican state of Veracruz at a depth of 95 km (60 miles), the US Geological Survey says
More