Tuesday 20 March 2018

Colombia to cut attacks on rebels

The Colombian government and leftist rebels have announced that they will seek to work out a full ceasefire that would end a more than five-decade long conflict.

Colombia has agreed to scale down military action if the guerilla group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) suspends all attacks.

The de-escalation is scheduled to begin on July 20, said a joint statement read in Havana, where the two sides have been negotiating on a peace accord for nearly three years.

The Farc already announced it would implement a unilateral ceasefire on that date, one of several it has initiated and then suspended during the peace talks.

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos hailed the announcement as a significant step.

The government had previously rejected the notion of a provisional ceasefire, saying the rebels would use it to regroup and then commit more violence.

Negotiators have tentatively agreed to implement the bilateral drawdown of military action for four months as they work toward a permanent truce using a new streamlined negotiating process.

The announcement followed intensified attacks by both sides that some Colombians feared could endanger the peace talks.

Earlier this month, Colombia's top government negotiator had warned that time for a deal was running out.

Last week, Cuba and Norway, which are aiding the peace talks, called on the government and rebels to ease hostilities.

Press Association

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