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Colombian Government, Rebels to Resume Talks

  • VOA News

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos speaks to the media at the Narino Presidential house in Bogota, August, 27, 2012.
Colombia's president says he has begun negotiations with the country's main rebel group to bring an end to nearly five decades of war.

Juan Manuel Santos announced the peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as FARC, during a nationally televised address Monday. News outlets reported earlier Monday that the the two sides had agreed to begin holding talks in Oslo, Norway, in October.

Santos says the negotiations must lead to a peace deal and that military operations will continue during the talks. He also mentioned that Colombia's second-biggest rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, has expressed a desire to participate in the negotiations.

FARC has yet to react to the Santos announcement.

The last negotiations between the government and FARC collapsed in 2002, as the guerillas increased their ranks and turned to drug trafficking.

FARC has engaged in numerous attacks on security forces and political kidnappings in its battle against the government, which began in 1964.

The group has suffered major defeats since the start of a U.S.-backed military effort in 2000. It has recently engaged in a number of hit-and-run attacks against oil and coal mining facilities. Six people were killed in a FARC car bombing in a rural area Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.