Colombian President Iván Duque cancels peace talks

Colombia to restart peace talks with insurgents ELN leader says peace talks will begin as soon as president agrees to send his top negotiators to Colombia Read more

The peace talks were due to start in November and last until February, but they have been postponed, amid disagreement over the terms of the ceasefire and the possibility of the government handing over its territory at the end of the talks.

The negotiations were designed to end three decades of war between government and Farc rebels on both sides of the border. The rebels, who controlled the Colombian jungle for decades, have been driven out in recent years by government forces.

But on Tuesday there were signs that the peace talks may be stalled for a while yet after the president of the anti-Farc coalition, Farc, had said talks would take place at the Colombian capital, Bogota.

The rebel leader, a former Farc fighter from the jungle, announced on Monday he had cancelled the peace talks, arguing that they had been conducted behind closed doors without the participation of the civilian population.

“I want to tell you that, without negotiation and without reaching a consensus amongst us, the dialogue will not begin, and we cannot begin the negotiations without the support of the Colombians,” Farc leader, Carlos Mesa, told the local broadcaster, RCN.

The government, the official news agency, meanwhile, announced it was now ready to begin talks. Colombia’s president, Iván Duque, said: “The time has come to restart negotiations that would begin as soon as the President of Colombia agrees to send his top negotiators to Colombia.”

The Farc are seeking an end to Colombia’s 34-year conflict, which has pushed 200,000 people into exile and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths.

The rebels first emerged out of the Colombian armed forces in 1964 and have become a powerful force in the conflict.

In July, the two sides agreed to hold peace talks in

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