Kerry meets negotiators searching for peace in Columbia

US Secretary Kerry meets with parties negotiating peace deal in Colombia at request of Colombian President Santos in Havana

Kerry meets negotiators searching for peace in Columbia

World Bulletin / News Desk

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has met with parties negotiating a peace agreement in Colombia at the request of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the Cuban capital Havana, according to the State Department.

“The secretary first met with the Colombian government's negotiating team and then with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People's Army or FARC-ED negotiating team,” spokesman Mark Toner said Monday.

“Secretary Kerry reiterated to both sides that the United States strongly supports the peace process, and is prepared through ‘Paz Colombia,’ announced Feb. 4 by President [Barack] Obama, to support the implementation of a final agreement to end the longest-running conflict in the Western Hemisphere,” Toner said.

Kerry told both parties that he is encouraged by “the ‘end of conflict’ issues are now front and center in the negotiations,” he added.

The American top diplomat also urged the parties to redouble their efforts to resolve the issues surrounding a timetable for disarmament. ‎

Washington designated the FARC as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997, and many of its leaders have been indicted in the U.S. on charges of cocaine trafficking.

Armed insurgency launched by the FARC in Colombia in 1964 led to death of around 220,000 people and displacement of more than five million others.

The two sides began formal peace talks in November 2012 in Havana.

Agreement has been reached on four main areas: land reform, political participation, the illegal drug trade and transitional justice.

 Last year, the two sides agreed on March 23 as the deadline for a final accord, but negotiators have said a deal by that date now looks unlikely.

Last Mod: 22 Mart 2016, 11:13
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