COPENHAGEN - Colombia's foreign minister said Thursday that the implementation of last year's peace agreement with leftist rebels, ending one of the world's bloodiest and longest-running armed conflicts, "has been more difficult" than expected.
Maria Angela Holguin reiterated in Oslo, Norway, that the government in Bogota is "deeply committed."
Almost since the accord was signed in November, the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has complained about foot-dragging in passing implementation legislation, freeing jailed rebels amnestied under the accord and investigating murders of leftist activists in areas they once dominated. FARC had agreed to turn over 30 percent of its weapons and explosives.
Holguin was taking part in the Oslo Forum panel discussion hosted by Norway's Foreign Ministry with Rodrigo Londono, top commander of the FARC.
"There is no way back now," Londono said through an interpreter. It was his first known trip outside Latin America in years. He and the rest of the FARC leadership have faced a U.S. arrest warrant for over a decade for allegedly running the world's largest drug cartel.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, who hosted the event, called the meeting of Holguin and Londono an historic moment because it was the first time they had met outside Colombia.
The agreement earned Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos the Nobel Peace Prize last year. Norway and Cuba co-sponsored the peace talks.