Colombia's FARC rebels say ceasefire to end January 20

HAVANA Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:27am IST

Colombia's FARC rebel group member Andres Paris (R) receives from National University of Colombia professor Marco Romero, proposals on agricultural reforms obtained from a farmers' forum in Colombia, in Havana January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

Colombia's FARC rebel group member Andres Paris (R) receives from National University of Colombia professor Marco Romero, proposals on agricultural reforms obtained from a farmers' forum in Colombia, in Havana January 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Enrique De La Osa

Related Topics

HAVANA (Reuters) - A unilateral ceasefire declared at the beginning of peace talks with the Colombian government in November will end on January 20 unless the government agrees to also lay down its arms, the country's Marxist FARC rebels said on Wednesday.

The rebels announced the ceasefire on November 19, the first day of peace talks in Havana aimed at ending five decades of conflict in Colombia, but said it would last only two months if the government did not observe the truce.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has refused to take part, choosing instead to keep up military pressure to try to force the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, to reach an accord.

"There will not be an extension of a unilateral ceasefire," FARC lead negotiator Ivan Marquez told a news conference in the Cuban capital.

"Only the signing of a bilateral ceasefire would be possible, if the government deems such a measure reasonable," he said.

The FARC and Colombia's government are in the early stages of the latest effort to end a war that dates back to the guerilla group's formation as a communist agrarian movement in 1964.

Thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced in what has become Latin America's longest running rebel insurgency.

During the ceasefire, government attacks have killed at least 34 rebels.

At the same time, the Colombian military and police have accused the FARC of attacking troops and infrastructure.

The rebels are believed to be weakened after years of a U.S.-backed offensive by Colombian forces.

The peace talks, which are attempting to address the basic causes of the conflict such as rural poverty, concentration of land ownership and social inequality, broke before Christmas and are not scheduled to resume until Monday.

They are being held at a convention center in Havana, mostly out of the public eye.

(Editing by Jeff Franks and Christopher Wilson)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

New Phone

New Phone

Samsung unveils sleek new Galaxy phones to battle Apple.  Full Article 

MH370 Search

MH370 Search

Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

England under Fire

England under Fire

Changes demanded after England's latest World Cup flop.  Full Article 

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin protesters rally in New York after Nemtsov's murder.  Full Article 

Brit Awards

Brit Awards

Brit awards shake up British album chart, boost Sam Smith.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage