World Bulletin / News Desk
Peace talks between the Colombian government’s negotiating team and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas recommenced Tuesday in Havana, Cuba.
The peace talks, which halted for a month due to the recent presidential elections which saw incumbent Juan Manuel Santos retain the Presidency in a closely-run contest against Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, now address the potentially thorny topic of victims.
“We want to speed up the process, if there is the will, I think that we can bring it to an end,” said Santos in a press conference Tuesday. However, he added: “But, I do not want to because it is counterproductive to put a date on any potential agreement because it automatically becomes difficult.”
The government’s negotiating team, headed up by Humberto de la Calle, has in recent weeks been travelling the country to hear the concerns of various victim groups.
On Tuesday, members of the Fundacion Victimas Visibles - a foundation created for victims of the conflict in Colombia - delivered an envelope to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) containing 90 letters from members of families who still have no information regarding the whereabouts of loved ones.
“I would like to know what happened to my father Dámaso Galvis Aldana who was kidnapped on June 21 1991. Has he been held for 23 years? We paid the ransom demand and my father was never returned to his family. What did they (the FARC) do with his body? Either return him or tell us where his remains lie,” said the text of one of the messages made available to the El Espectador newspaper.
“There will be a greater effort made and it is in the government’s interest to speed up this round of talks,” political scientist Fernando Giraldo told AFP. “They will want to have the process ended before October so that local elections are not affected in March 2015.”
The on-going peace dialog between the FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government began in November 2012 and has already addressed the topics of agrarian reform, political participation and illegal drugs. The topics of victims, surrendering arms and how to implement the accords have yet to be addressed.
According to the Colombia's Historical Memory Center, the armed conflict since 1958 caused 220,000 deaths, with the disappearance of an estimated 25,000 people, 5.7 million internally displaced people and 27,000 kidnappings in addition to 2000 massacres.Last Mod: 16 Temmuz 2014, 11:07