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Colombian Government, FARC to Launch Peace Talks in Oslo

Colombia's government head of negotiators Humberto de la Calle (C) speaks next to delegation members prior to boarding a plane to Oslo, at a military airport in Bogota October 16, 2012. Colombia's government and Marxist rebels will start peace talks as pl
Representatives of the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia [FARC] rebels are meeting Wednesday in Oslo for peace talks aimed at ending Latin America's oldest insurgency.

The talks in the Norwegian capital are the first between the two sides in a decade. They are expected to set the stage for a second phase of negotiations to take place in Cuba, which will focus on such issues as political rights and drug trafficking.

Cuba and Norway are serving as mediators for the talks.

Colombia and FARC rebels have engaged in a bloody civil war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives over five decades. Since 1964, the militant group has carried out attacks on security forces and political kidnappings in its battle against the government.

The rebel group has suffered major defeats, however, since the start of a U.S.-backed counterinsurgency effort in 2000.

The last talks between the government and FARC collapsed in 2002.

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