As peace talks get under way in Havana, the FARC announces a cease-fire. Not a big surprise, and not well-received by the government.
HAVANA (AP) — Colombia’s main rebel group announced a unilateral cease-fire on Monday as it began much-anticipated peace talks, but the Bogota government responded that it would continue military operations. Top negotiator Ivan Marquez said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia would halt all acts of sabotage and attacks against government and private property starting at midnight Monday and running through Jan. 20.
He made the announcement as negotiators for both sides entered the talks in Havana without other comment.
Marquez said the move was “aimed at strengthening the climate of understanding necessary for the parties to start a dialogue.”
Hours later, Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told reporters in the Colombian capital that while the government hoped the FARC would keep its promise, “history shows that this terrorist organization has never kept its word. It’s very difficult to believe.”
He added that Colombian security forces have “the constitutional duty to pursue all criminals who have violated the Constitution.”