FARC initiates announced unilateral ceasefire

A unilateral ceasefire announced by FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) early July begins on Monday

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A unilateral ceasefire by FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) has been initiated on Monday at midnight aiming to pursue de-escalation measures negotiated with the Colombian government.

Hours before the ceasefire initiated, FARC freed a captive soldier as a gesture of goodwill.

The Colombian government in return stated its will to reduce aggression against guerillas for four hours on Monday, with a sidenote that this is not a ceasefire.

After years of struggle and fruitless negotiation attempts, the truce move from rebels seemed to be welcomed. However, it also seems the war-weary Colombia cannot finalise their peace talks immediately.

"The challenge of achieving peace still looms large." President Juan Manuel Santos said.

The government insists it will only agree to a bilateral ceasefire on the condition that an agreement is signed between the parties.

The Colombian government and rebel guerilla groups - most notably the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels - have been maintaining an armed struggle since the early 1960s.

Composed of Marxist rebels, the 8,000 member-strong FARC and the Colombian government have been in peace talks since November 2012 in order to put a stop to a 51-year civil war.

Following FARC’s announcements on July 8 that they agreed on a one-month unilateral ceasefire, the government on July 12 agreed to reduce its attacks against rebels, for the first time since the initiation of peace talks.

President Santos said if guerillas do not stay true to their truce, the peace process will end for good.

In April, FARC breached its unilateral cease-fire with an attack that left 11 soldiers dead.

The peace talks have produced partial agreements on rural reform, FARC to abandon drug trafficking activities, and its integration into the Colombian political life, but problems about violence and victims continues.

FARC lifted a unilateral ceasefire it had declared in December on May 22 and since then it has carried out near-daily attacks in its stronghold southwest.

The attacks have hit roadways, power networks and crude oil trucks and pipelines, leaving Colombians without power and with polluted water supplies.

TRTWorld and agencies