Colombia's FARC dissidents say 'ready' for May peace talks

President Petro has pursued talks with armed groups that have continued a bloody war over drug and illegal mining resources

By AFP

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FARC EP dissidence top commander, aka Ivan Mordisco (C), gives a military salute next to commander Calarca (R) during a meeting with local communities in San Vicente del Caguan, Caqueta department, Colombia, on Sunday.— AFP
FARC EP dissidence top commander, aka Ivan Mordisco (C), gives a military salute next to commander Calarca (R) during a meeting with local communities in San Vicente del Caguan, Caqueta department, Colombia, on Sunday.— AFP

Published: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 9:54 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Apr 2023, 9:55 PM

An armed dissident group of Colombia's disbanded FARC guerrillas said on Sunday it was "ready" to start peace talks with the government from May 16.

"We are announcing to the world that our delegates to the dialogue table with the Colombian government... are ready for May 16," said the EMC dissident grouping, which rejected a 2016 peace deal that disarmed the FARC.

Speaking at a meeting of EMC leaders, spokeswoman Angela Izquierdo added: "We hope the official installation of the table can be realized."

EMC top leaders have been meeting on a farm in the southern San Vicente del Caguan region since the start of April, including consultations with local communities under EMC control, to plot a strategy for peace negotiations.

They included Ivan Mordisco, who the government erroneously claimed to have killed last year.

Some dissidents rejected the 2016 peace agreement that led to the dissolution of Latin America's most fearsome guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), while others later returned to the fold after failing to integrate into civilian life.

Colombia's first-ever leftist President Gustavo Petro, in office since last August, has pursued negotiations with FARC dissidents and other armed groups that have continued a bloody war over drug and illegal mining resources.

Petro came to power with plans to bring "total peace" to a country scarred by decades of violence.

At Petro's initiative, a six-month ceasefire has been in place with FARC dissidents and other armed groups since January 1.

Last week, the government said the peace process with EMC was being "consolidated."

The EMC is estimated to have about 3,000 fighters operating mainly in the Amazon, on the Pacific coast and near the border with Venezuela.


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