Colombian guerrillas declare intention to keep cease-fire
FARC guerrillas say they will break unilateral cease-fire with the government only if attacked

FARC has declared its intention to remain true to its unilateral cease-fire with the Colombian government, breaking it only if its forces or installations come under attack by the military.

The continuing unilateral cease-fire, declared by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC guerrillas) and which took effect Dec. 20, has largely been adhered to despite the rebel group’s warnings to the contrary and reports of five different assaults on guerrilla positions in late December and early January.

"We must move faster to find the route to peace and not that of war,” said President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday during a televised address Monday with reference to the next round of peace dialogues between the government and the FARC that are set to reconvene Jan. 26 in Havana. Regarding the cease-fire, he added, "that it is like a rose with her thorns.”

Guerrilla member Pastor Alape responded to Santos in an interview with El Espectador on Tuesday in which he said, "Now is not the time for metaphors. It is time to make strides towards the end of the conflict.”

The peace negotiations that began in November 2012 were provisionally suspended Dec. 17 to allow for the Christmas holidays and according to Alape, "We have no doubt that for the most part they have been extremely positive.”

There are, however, those in disagreement with the outcome of the unilateral cease-fire, amongst them Sen. Alfredo Rangel of the conservative Democratic Center party.

"The unilateral cease-fire has not been obeyed in any way. President Santos is consciously and deliberately deceiving the Colombian people,” he said. "They continue extorting, ticketing, placing landmines, trafficking drugs, recruiting children, rearming, multiplying and extending their fronts,” he told El Tiempo.

The cease-fire has been widely seen as a bargaining tool by the FARC to strengthen its negotiating position and push the government toward declaring a bilateral cease-fire, something Santos has strongly refused to consider.

The two sides have already come to agreements on the issues of agricultural reform, illicit drugs and victims’ rights.

When the talks recommence the parties will address how to end the conflict and human rights.

"The end of the confrontation and the construction of peace are fervent goals for all of Colombia,” said Alape. "The sooner we can achieve this, the better.”

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Last Modified: 2015-01-13 20:30:07
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