Colombia demands FARC rebels set disarmament date
BOGOTA, Colombia – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels Monday, March 28, to set a date to disarm, after a self-imposed March 23 deadline to sign a peace deal passed unmet.
"The government demands a set, precise and clear date to finish the disarmament process," he said in an address from the presidential palace.
Santos has staked his presidency on bringing peace to Colombia, where the FARC have been fighting the government for more than half a century, a conflict that has killed more than 260,000 people.
The two sides have recently announced advances in a more than 3-year-old peace process in the Cuban capital, Havana.
But key questions remain unsettled, including disarmament.
In September, the two sides agreed the Marxist rebels would begin disarming "at the latest 60 days after the signing of the final accord."
But they did not set a date to finish disarming.
Santos said the lack of clarity on that issue was one of the reasons the two sides failed to sign a peace deal by the March deadline they had announced with great fanfare six months before.
The peace process aims to turn the FARC from a guerrilla group to a political party.
So far, the two sides have reached deals on four of their six agenda items: justice for victims, land reform, a political role for ex-rebels and fighting the drug trafficking that fuels the conflict.
The unsettled issues are disarmament and how to ratify the final accord. – Rappler.com