The guerilla group says it has handed in a proposal for the process of disarmament, which will be discussed in the next weeks.
The Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas are close to agreeing to a definitive cease-fire, guerrilla leader Carlos Antonio Lozada told the media Sunday, affirming that the peace talks between the two sides are continuing to advance.
“Today we are very close to reaching an agreement,” Lozada, whose real name is Luis Antonio Losada, told reporters in Havana, Cuba. “In regards to the ceasefire, we have minimal differences in the procedural aspects but we are in the closing days of this agreement."
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC, and the Colombian government have been undergoing peace talks in Havana over three years, part of an effort to end over 50 years of civil war.
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The two sides are believed to be closer than ever to reaching a final peace agreement, although not necessarily in time to reach a self-imposed deadline of March 23. A final deal would include a definitive bilateral ceasefire, with the guerrillas laying down their arms.
Many have been skeptical however that the two will reach their deadline since there have been several set backs. Many controversial topics remain to be discussed, including the FARC's participation in politics, the disarmament of right-wing paramilitary groups who continue to operate in the country, and the release of political prisoners, namely FARC leader Simon Trinidad, who is currently being held in a “Supermax” prison in the United States.
However, since the peace talks resumed on March 2, the government's negotiating team said it would work hard to make as much progress as possible by the March 23 deadline.
Lozada echoed these sentiments himself on Sunday. “We are feeling the end of the armed confrontation,” he said, and not planning on “compromising dates.”
The guerrilla delegate added that the FARC negotiating team has delivered its proposal for the process of disarmament, which is considered the core of the peace deal, and is waiting for it to be discussed and agreed upon in Havana. Lozada did not provide any more details on the proposal.
Violence between the two sides has diminished since July, when the FARC declared a unilateral ceasefire and the government of Juan Manuel Santos responded by suspending aerial bombardments of FARC camps.