The leader of Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, said Wednesday he had ordered his subordinates to suspend all military training and begin “political and cultural training.”
FARC leader “Timochenko” announced the order in a tweet to President Juan Manuel Santos, whose administration is holding peace talks with the country’s largest guerrilla group.
“Pastor Alape,” a member of the FARC peace delegation, confirmed on twitter that the purpose of this order from Timochenko was to concentrate the guerrilla’s energies on achieving peace within six months, something which Santos promised after the signing of the justice deal on September 23.
In an interview with former senator Piedad Cordoba for the channel Telesur Timochenko said that six months may not be enough time to complete the peace deal but that it could be done if there is willpower from both sides.
Another member of the FARC peace delegation, “Pablo Catatumbo,” tweeted that all members of the guerrillas stand by Timochenko’s statement and that they are willing to concentrate on political life.
The objective of the political and cultural preparation mentioned by Timochenko is the reintegration of the guerrillas into civilian society after the peace deal is signed, allegedly before March 23 next year.
The FARC insisted in a statement released on September 18, before the transitional justice deal was signed, that they are “ready to tackle and discuss the processes for the transition from an insurgent organization to an open political movement.”
The Santos administration and the FARC signed a transitional justice deal last week, which according to both sides was the biggest obstacle to the conclusion of the final peace deal, although they still must agree on agenda points, “Victims” and “End of conflict.”
There are those who oppose the peace talks and the potential political transition of the FARC, particularly former president and opposition leader, Alvaro Uribe, who accused Santos on twitter of “bringing terrorists to power.”
Peace talks have been taking place in Havana, Cuba between the government and the FARC since November 2012 in order to resolve the 51-year-long armed conflict which has left 260,000 Colombians dead and over 6 million displaced.
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