The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia peace talks formally started talks again Sunday in Cuba, calling them a "productive dialogue" about changes to a peace deal that was narrowly rejected in an Oct. 2 plebiscite, according to a tweet published by the presidency.
FARC-EP chief negotiators Ivan Marquez and Ricardo Tellez both said that the guerrilla group was “analyzing the points of view of various social sectors about the peace pact.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that he asked the negotiating team “to put the accelerator” on the process during an official event. “We want to move this process forward as fast as possible,” he added, saying that Colombia needed a new agreement as soon as possible so it could be implemented straight away.
The government delegation's chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle said it was necessary to "make adjustments and clarifications to the agreement" signed with the FARC on Sept. 26 in the northern city of Cartagena.
The peace negotiators have received various proposals from leaders of the referendum's "No" campaign, including from the opposition Democratic Center party headed by far-right former President Alvaro Uribe.
Meanwhile, the chief negotiator of the FARC-EP, Ivan Marquez, said from Havana that the purpose of the meeting is to strengthen the final agreement that was discussed in Havana and took four years to negotiate
“The atmosphere is one of optimism,” commented FARC-EP leader Timoleon Jimenez on Twitter, adding that both parts were “searching (for) points of confluence.”
De la Calle added that proposals had also been received from victims' associations, former President Andres Pastrana, former Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez and ex-presidential candidate Martha Lucia Ramirez, all of whom opposed the deal that was put to the vote on Oct. 2.
Even so, he said, commitments reached with the FARC-EP in arenas such as recovering war-torn rural areas, providing redress to victims and delivering justice should not be abandoned.
The FARC-EP and social movements have called for a Vigil for Peace throughout the country on Oct. 31 to urge the negotiations forward and show the depth of the call for peace.
Peace advocates have been occupying the Plaza Bolivar in Bogota for weeks and have held several demonstrations that have attracted hundreds of thousands of people throughout Colombia.
A new accord needs to be hammered out quickly and efficiently not only to meet the wishes of the majority of Colombians but also to prevent a resurgence of violence," de la Calle concluded.