ColombiaOne.comColombia newsColombia Extends Ceasefire with Guerrillas for Six More Months

Colombia Extends Ceasefire with Guerrillas for Six More Months


Colombia ceasefire
Colombia extends ceasefire with guerrillas for six more months. Credit: Ministry Defence Peru / CC BY 2.0

The Government of Colombia has extended for another six months the bilateral ceasefire with the self-styled guerrilla group FARC Central General Staff, the main dissident group of the former FARC-EP, demobilized in 2016. This was communicated yesterday by the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, just one day before the expiration of the first term. Colombia has been holding peace talks with this illegal armed group, led by alias Ivan Mordisco, since October 13, 2023, when a three-month bilateral ceasefire began which expired today.

In this time of peace talks, conflicts and disagreements have been a constant, with mutual accusations of not respecting the truce and with demands by the state to have the armed group definitively abandon the practice of kidnapping. The decision to extend the ceasefire is key, because President Gustavo Petro and his Minister of Defense, Ivan Velasquez, had been very critical at the end of last year of the relevance of this measure in the negotiation. Petro even said that perhaps this process had been “premature”.

Dialogue continues

Despite these difficulties and the firm opposition of broad political sectors of the country, the dialogue with the guerrillas continues, within the presidential project of Total Peace. In order to guarantee compliance with the ceasefire and avoid past misunderstandings, the monitoring mechanism was recently modified.

It was precisely this mechanism that recommended a six-month extension of the truce, considering the results of the periodic report carried out by the entity. During the new agreed period, military and police operations against members of this illegal group who participate in the peace process will be suspended.

“The extension of the ceasefire seeks to strengthen and maintain the rules and commitments regarding the protection of the civilian population, and to that extent avoid affecting them,” the presidential decree states.

The announcement of the extension of the ceasefire comes five days after the government and the guerrillas began the third round of peace talks in Bogota, which will last until January 20.

Talks and truces

At this moment, the Colombian State maintains two dialogue tables with two illegal armed groups, the National Liberation Army and the dissident group of the FARC, FARC Central General Staff. Unlike what happened with the successful peace process that President Santos advanced with the now defunct FARC, between 2012 and 2016, these current processes are carried out in the context of truces agreed between the state and the illegal armed groups.

During the previous dialogues, which took place in Cuba for three long years, the war in Colombia continued and ceasefires were not signed until a definitive peace was agreed. On this occasion, President Petro intends to create a framework of trust to be able to move forward with one of his most important projects, completing the important peace that the country sealed more than 7 years ago and that meant the disappearance of the largest and oldest guerrilla in the continent.

With this extension, agreed by the parties, the new ceasefire limit is extended until July 15.

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