Suarez (Colombia), Sep 19 (EFE).- The Colombian government and the Central High Command (EMC), the main dissidence of the now disbanded FARC, will set up a dialogue table on Oct 8 in the city of Tibú, in the troubled region of Catatumbo near the venezuelna border, when a ten months bilateral ceasefire will also begin.
The delegations of both sides confirmed this on Tuesday at a press conference in Suarez, department of Cauca (western Colombia), where they have been meeting since Sunday to advance the dialogue agenda and establish agreements such as the ten-month ceasefire,” confirmed Camilo Gonzalez, head of the government’s peace delegation with the EMC.
It is “a historical leap because a ceasefire of these characteristics and duration had never been presented in the history of peace dialogues in Colombia,” added González.
On the other hand, the EMC delegation mentioned that their will is to achieve real peace. “Peace is not only signing a document. It is not only reaching a political or public declaration. Peace is to be able to live peacefully in the territories where the effects of the war have greater transcendence”, added, for his part, the head of the EMC delegation, “Andrey Avendaño.”
Tibú, located in the department of Norte de Santander, is one of the areas most affected by the conflict, with the presence not only of FARC dissidents but also of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and other armed and criminal groups.
It will be a “bilateral, temporary, and territorial” ceasefire, specified Gonzalez. He added that it will work according to the application of protection protocols.
“This process is marked by the word respect: respect to civilians and human rights. A political dialogue is impossible if it is not based on International Humanitarian Law”, said the government delegates.
Avendaño, for his part, insisted that “it makes no sense to talk about a peace agreement for ten years and then say that nothing could be done after. Here, the two delegations will make every effort to move it forward and for the communities to take up the flags of peace with social justice”.
A LONG-AWAITED CEASEFIRE
The government and the EMC agreed on a bilateral ceasefire at the beginning of the year that was to run until June but was not without its hitches; in fact, it was partially broken in May – before the six months were up – in four departments, after the dissidents murdered four indigenous minors whom they had previously recruited.
This was not the only clash between the two sides. The set-up of the dialogue table was scheduled for May, as announced by the guerrillas in a macro event, but it was postponed.
These two announcements come after months of expectation. Both delegations insisted on a good relationship and the will for peace that did not always coincide with the actions, especially of the guerrillas.
In the last weeks, the EMC has been harshly criticized for increasing offensive actions in departments such as Cauca, where it has terrorized entire communities or attacked police stations. EFE