World Bulletin / News Desk
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos rejected a proposal on Thursday by leftist FARC rebels for a bilateral ceasefire during talks next month aimed at bringing an end to half a century of war.
The call for both sides to put down their weapons while talks are under way in Norway came earlier from leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia at a news conference in Havana.
The proposal and its rejection could complicate the process from the start as Santos is adamant that Colombian military operations would continue across "every centimeter" of the Andean nation.
"I have asked that military operations be intensified, that there will be no ceasefire of any kind," Santos said during an address at a military base in Tolemaida, close to the capital.
"We won't cede anything at all until we reach the final agreement," he added. "That should be very clear."
A decade ago, during the last attempt at ending Latin America's longest-running insurgency, the rebels used a demilitarized area the size of Switzerland to beef up their military operations and establish a network.
"One of the differences with past peace processes is that we won't give up one centimeter of national territory or cease operations, and those principals have to be maintained until the end," Santos said.
At its news conference, the FARC named two negotiators who will sit with government representatives in Oslo and later in Cuba to try to end a war that has left tens of thousands dead since it began in 1964.
"We are going to propose a ceasefire immediately when we sit at the table," senior FARC commander Mauricio Jaramillo said.
"Better said, we are going to fight for it. We are going to discuss it there at the table, but it is one of the first points," he said, announcing that talks would start on Oct. 8 in Norway.
Santos said there was no firm start date yet and that talks could continue for as long as nine months.
The former defense minister, whose approval rating has fallen in recent months, surprised Colombians this week when he said there would be no ceasefire during peace talks with the FARC.
Santos had always demanded that the rebels put down their weapons, free all hostages and stop attacks on military, civilian and economic targets before any negotiations could be considered.
Jaramillo said the FARC would send Ivan Marquez and Jose Santrich, both high-ranking leaders, to the talks and would reveal more participants soon.
"We have always wanted peace," Jaramillo said.
Colombian Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre said on Tuesday that once the government accepted the FARC negotiators, all arrest warrants would be suspended.
The rebels said they were pursuing peace because the country needed it and sensed that the government felt the same.
"We think it is very important to develop and preserve this process because it responds to a need, a strong desire of the Colombian people," F A RC member Marco Leon said in Havana.
"Colombia and the world have changed. The principles of FARC go on unbowed," said Ricardo Tellez, a top commander known by his war alias of Rodrigo Granda.
Santos unveiled his negotiating team on Wednesday, which includes a former vice president, a former police chief, a former military head, an industrialist, the president's chief security adviser and a former environment minister.
Even as it prepares for the meetings, the FARC blew up two trucks at a coal mine on Tuesday ,and Danilo Garcia, a top rebel commander and right-hand man to FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, was killed in a bombing attack by government troops.
Canada sees China as an important trading partner and in early 2012 Harper went to Beijing to pitch the idea of Canada as a potential oil supplier.
Timmermans gained international prominence with the emotional speech he gave at the United Nations following the July 17 shooting down over eastern Ukraine of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
An appeals court in Washington is scheduled to take up that case on Nov. 4, raising the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually be asked to resolve the issue.
The soldiers were part of a contingent from Chad, said a U.N. official who asked not to be named.
Venezuela's Socialist Party member has rolled out a variation of the classic Christian "Lord's Prayer" to implore Chavez for protection from the evils of capitalism
An internet video posted online Tuesday purported to show the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff, which called it retribution for continued US airstrikes in Iraq.
The volatile situation in Tripoli has been exacerbated by separate clashes in the eastern port city of Benghazi
"We are deeply concerned about the declaration of a large area as 'state land' to be used for expanded settlement building," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said
Judges decide images of Saudi national Mohammed al-Qahtani, who is held in Guantánamo Bay and was subjected to ‘special interrogation’, threaten national security
The annual exercise, to take place in the Yavoriv training center near Ukraine's border with Poland, was initially scheduled for July, but was put back because early planning was disrupted by the crisis
National Elections Authority chief Dieudonné Kombo Yaya said that it was likely that elections would take place at the end of next year, after the July to September rainy season.
The MPS plans to move its head office to a smaller former police station which has been empty for the last three years.
More than 120 healthworkers have died during the Ebola outbreak amid shortages of equipment and trained staff in the region
Abdiqadir Mohamed Sidii, governor of Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, said he believed Godane and other senior al Shabaab members had been killed.
Although fighters have been prevented from taking central Damascus, President Bashar al-Assad's forces are worried they will reach it by digging tunnels from the sprawling suburbs and outlying towns under their control.
The UNHCR said the total includes 814,000 Ukrainians now in Russia with various forms of status, as well as compatriots who have fled to Belarus, Moldova, the three Baltic states and European Union.