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FARC rebels prepare for ‘peace talks’ | FARC News

The Estado Mayor Central armed group, a breakaway FARC group, said it was ready to start peace talks with the government on May 16.

An armed faction of Colombia’s disbanded FARC rebels said it was ready to start peace talks with the government next month, potentially marking a turning point in leftist President Gustavo Petrotro’s quest for a “comprehensive peace”.

Ángela Izquierdo, spokeswoman for the Estado Mayor Central (EMC) armed group, said: “We announce to the world that our representatives are ready to talk to the Colombian government on May 16 of this year. , led by the central government,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Petro, a former member of the urban rebel group M-19, has pledged to end a six-year armed conflict that has killed more than 450,000 people by signing peace or surrender agreements with rebels and criminal gangs, in addition to a comprehensive Performed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The EMC is one of two FARC splinter factions made up of former leaders and fighters who did not accept the 2016 peace deal that paved the way for FARC rebels to lay down their arms and form a political party.

Attorney General Francisco Barbosa suspended arrest warrants for more than 20 EMC members in early March, prompting the start of peace talks in Llano del Yari, on the border of Meta and Caqueta provinces in the south of the country.

The group, made up of 3,530 people – 2,180 fighters and 1,350 support personnel – has maintained a bilateral ceasefire with the Colombian government since the start of the year.

Another dissident FARC faction is Segunda Marquetalia, which returned to the armed struggle in August 2019, claiming the country had failed to abide by the peace agreement.

“Perfect Peace”

Petro came to power last August with plans to bring “total peace” to a country scarred by decades of violence.

A six-month ceasefire with FARC dissidents and other armed groups has been in place since January 1 at the president’s initiative. But there have been some setbacks.

The National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group, which has been in peace talks with the government since November, dismissed Petro’s announcement as part of the January truce.

Last month, Petro convened government negotiators after ELN fighters killed nine soldiers and wounded nine others.

Another round of talks with the ELN or the National Liberation Army is scheduled for later this month in Cuba.

Also in March, the government suspended a truce with the Gulf Clan, the country’s largest drug cartel, after attacks on civilians and uniformed personnel.

Colombia’s opposition has often criticized Petro for his willingness to make concessions to armed and criminal groups in the name of peace.

Last week, the government said the peace process with EMC was “consolidating”.

Thousands of people living in EMC-controlled areas held a public consultation with the group’s leaders on Sunday.

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