BOGOTÁ.- After almost three years of talks and an agreed conclusion date between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP, a peace process which has made progress but still confronts contradictions, is now at a definitive stage.
In addition to preliminary agreements on issues relating to integral rural reform, democracy based political participation and the fight against illicit drugs, negotiation delegations from both sides have agreed on an accord that facilitates the search for the disappeared in the context of the internal conflict and another to progressively clear mines from the national territory.
Despite such progress, the proximity of March 23- the agreed date for the talks- requires a more harmonious and dynamic discourse between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARCEP in Spanish) and government representatives at the talks underway in Cuba since November, 19 2012.
Both sides meeting in Havana need to resolve the controversial topic referred to as transitional justice, which precedes the establishment of a Special Peace Jurisdiction that will, investigate, try and sanction participants in the armed conflict.
This agreement, announced to the world on September 23, was later subjected to revision by the Government, claiming that it had amounted to an imprecise consensus on how to proceed.
Terms for disarmament and the standing down and societal reintegration of guerrillas are other outstanding issues, as is the bilateral cease sought by activists, social movements and the insurgents who have been at truce since last July 20.
FARC-EP’s most senior figure,
Timoleón Jiménez expressed in his most recent statement that the other side’s seemingly deliberate complication of the process and the slow pace imposed on the talks table and sub-commissions are something that warrant consideration.
The rebel leader called for the flexibilization of procedures to conclude the issue of transitional justice and he ratified his confidence in the attainment of a conclusive deal to bring the more than half a century old war to an end.
Jiménez asked if such delays were intent on harassing his side into accepting impositions.
Nevertheless, President Juan Manuel Santos denied the existence of any such pretext, and called for an acceleration of the talks, given the date March 23.
Another controversial topic is that of a popular referendum on the agreements because whilst the Executive favor such a vote, the FARC-EP is calling for a National Constituent Assembly.
In the light of such differences on this and other points, Senator Ivan Cepeda asked that the method of imposition be set aside during what is a crucial stage.
He told The Havana Reporter that dialogue should lead us to destiny’s door and to success at the talks between the warring parties.
In addition to commitments to step up the pace of the talks in Cuba and to reduce the intensity of their content, there are other immense obstacles to overcome, such as the dismantling of the scourge of para-militarism, considered to represent the single greatest threat to any cessation.
Analysts say that, the process now looked on optimistically by the Colombian public, requires joint willingness and work on the peacekeeping front, to satisfy the majority of sectors that oppose the war.
The Jiménez -Santos handshake in Havana of almost two months ago has been interpreted as the highest point of the three year-old negotiations and the moment that marked the irreversibility of the process.
As a consequence, opinion polls in Colombia indicate that internal expectations in turn now lean towards the possibility that peace is on the horizon.Share on FB Share on TT