Negotiations with FARC progressing: Colombian president

Bogota, July 30 (IANS/EFE) Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said that after over two-and-a-half-years of peace talks with rebel group FARC in Cuba, the government is seeking fresh ideas to reach a definitive bilateral ceasefire.

“We will be seeking other ways to come closer to that definitive bilateral ceasefire,” Santos said on Wednesday

The president said after 32 months of negotiations, both sides are at a point where they need to face reality and decide.

Until now, the government had not agreed to a bilateral ceasefire fearing it could become a “perverse” stimulus to prolong negotiations indefinitely.

Santos acknowledged, however, that the last two pending points, pertaining to victims and the end of the conflict, were being tackled simultaneously.

The president emphasised the two sides now need to “begin speaking and acting as if the conflict was going to come to an end in the very near future”.

Therefore, reducing intensity of the conflict, as agreed upon by the two parties on July 12, “is a necessary and important step”, he added.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, began a unilateral ceasefire on July 20.

The government responded five days later by suspending bombings on FARC camps.

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