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Kerry to meet Colombia government, FARC negotiators

By AFP

Added 21st March 2016 05:34 AM

The goal is to turn the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from a rebel group into a political party.

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US Secretary of State John Kerry says he is keen to check in on progress in the peace process. (AFP)

The goal is to turn the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from a rebel group into a political party.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet in Havana Monday with Colombian government and FARC rebel negotiators trying to strike a peace deal that would end a half-century of strife, a source close to the talks said.

A delegation from Botoga will meet for an hour with the top US diplomat at 3 pm (1900 GMT), said a statement from the office of the High Commissioner for Peace, Sergio Jaramillo.

An hour later, and separately, FARC negotiators will huddle with Kerry, also for an hour, the statement said.

 The head of FARC-EP leftist guerrilla delegation, Ivan Marquez (R) reads a statement at  the Convention Palace in Havana for the peace talks with Colombian Government

 

 The head of the Colombian Government delegation Humberto de la Calle (C) arrives at the Convention Palace in Havana for the peace talks with FARC-EP leftist guerrilla


Kerry -- who arrived Sunday in Cuba's capital with US President Barack Obama on his landmark visit to the Communist-run island -- has said he was keen to check in on progress in the peace process.

Negotiators at the talks -- held in the Cuban capital since November 2012 -- have announced several key advances in recent months, but a final deal remains elusive.

The goal is to turn the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from a rebel group into a political party and end a grinding, complex conflict that has killed more than 260,000 people and uprooted 6.6 million.

 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members patrol a camp in the Magdalena Medio region, Antioquia department, Colombia

 

 

On the ground in Colombia, hostilities have almost entirely halted under the FARC's unilateral ceasefire -- although a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), has not joined the peace process and continues periodic attacks.

The FARC said earlier this month that peace talks were stalled over the issue of a bilateral ceasefire. Both sides have acknowledged that a March 23 deadline they had set themselves would pass without the signing of a final accord.



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