FARC leader rules out peace agreement by year's end
BOGOTA, Colombia – The leader of Colombia's FARC rebel group ruled out brokering a peace accord this year, saying there was not enough time to reach an accord with the government.
Colombia has been in talks with the communist rebels in Havana since November 2012, in a push to end the longest-running armed conflict in Latin America, now in its 50th year.
"It is easy to conclude that there is not sufficient time this year," Timoleon Jimenez said in an interview published by the website pazfarc-ep.org, as negotiators prepared for Tuesday (August 12) talks on victim compensation.
Apart from that, "we still have to discuss an end to the hostilities and the ratification process of an eventual accord," he said.
"We must also take into account that surrendering of arms and a bilateral ceasefire will not be easy," Jimenez said.
Negotiators are turning to the thorny issue of reparations, which aim to make amends for past abuses and settle old grievances.
In Colombia, 5.3 million people have been "internally displaced" by the war, according to the UN High Commission on Refugees.
The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 220,000 people since 1958, according to the National Center for Historical Record, which estimates than more than 80 percent have been civilians.
The attempt to close the book on the conflict has already reached consensus on aspects like the reintegration of the guerrillas to political life, rural development policies, and drug trafficking, which has helped fuel the conflict.
"Our intention is to not leave the table while a final agreement is lacking," said Jimenez, who is himself not involved in the negotiations. – Rappler.com