Colombia, FARC Resume Peace Talks

Colombia, FARC Resume Peace TalksColombia, FARC Resume Peace Talks

The Colombian government and FARC rebels met in Cuba on Saturday to begin fresh talks to rewrite a peace deal that was narrowly defeated in a referendum earlier this month. Both sides remain optimistic a revised deal can be reached.

FARC chief Timoleon Jimenez, also known as Timochenko, said on Twitter the first meeting with the government since the October 2 referendum was “optimistic” and that the two sides “found points of agreement.” The government delegation said the talks marked a beginning of “constructive dialogue”, AFP reported

The government delegation arrived in Havana after receiving over the past two weeks proposals from supporters of the “No” vote, which included senator and former hardline president, Alvaro Uribe, parts of the church, as well as victims and sectors of society who supported the deal but wanted revisions.  

Those opposed to the deal, which came after more than four years of tough talks in Cuba, are against its transitional justice provisions that allow for an amnesty for most FARC guerillas or require them to perform community service in war-torn places, and want those responsible for atrocities to be locked up and barred from politics.

An amendment to the deal that does not include FARC transitioning to a political movement would be difficult for the leftist movement to stomach. Under the deal, FARC would have been given 10 congressional seats in government, which opponents say is unacceptable.

The rebels, Colombia’s armed forces and rightwing paramilitaries, have all been implicated in carrying out crimes during the nearly five-decade-long war that has claimed at least 220,000 lives and displaced some 8 million people.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month for his efforts, has extended a ceasefire until the end of the year and vowed to reach a new peace deal as soon as possible.

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