Colombian rebels call truce as peace talks start

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Colombian rebels call truce as peace talks start

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Peace talks have begun between Colombia’s Marxist rebels and the government to end 50 years of war.

It follows the decision of the FARC rebel group to call a two-month unilateral ceasefire, the first truce in more than a decade.

The warring sides will meet in Cuba almost daily until negotiations are over but Colombia’s government has stressed there will be no end to its operations against FARC until a final deal is signed.

There are mixed feelings about this latest initiative among Bogota residents. Enrique Tamayo believes “peace cannot come via a decree”.
“As long as the problems of hunger and misery in this country aren’t solved, there’s nothing. They (FARC) are not the voice of the people,” he says.

Others, however, are more optimistic about the outcome. Crisnel Sanchez says an agreement can be reached: “Even though they are saying these are just dialogues, not negotiations. But it’s already a great thing to have dialogue. I am very hopeful and think that something good can come out of all this.”

A failure of the latest peace process could mean years of more fighting and further blight on the reputation of a country eager for foreign investment and regional clout yet which has been unable to resolve its most serious domestic problem.