On Sunday the Colombian government and the appointed negotiators of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) guerrilla ended their 15th round of peace talks in Havana, Cuba without moving any closer to an agreement.
FARC’s political participation, the subject of this most recent cycle of discussions, was left unresolved, as were the details of a proposed congressional visit to the negotiating table. In what appears to be a sign of growing discord, the Colombian government and FARC released separate statements yesterday blaming each other for the lack of developments. This is the first time since peace talks began almost a year ago that the parties have forgone a joint press release at the end of a round of negotiations, reported Colombian newspaper El Espectador.
“This slowness is because of the FARC,” President Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement published on his government’s website. “The Colombian government has been willing to advance on those points that were previously agreed upon, an agenda that was agreed upon and signed.”
In response to the attacks carried out by FARC in ten departments over the last week, including a bombing that killed a 13-year-old boy in the department of Boyacá, the Colombian Head of State threatened to increase the government’s military offensive.
“Don’t think that you can play with the government and don’t think that you can pressure us through acts of terrorism,” warned President Santos on his website. “Our reaction is exactly the opposite. For this reason we are not going to rest until we see that these acts of terrorism disappear from the face of our country.”
In response to the government’s accusations that they are responsible for delaying negotiations, FARC claimed in a statement published on its website that the group’s negotiators presented close to 100 proposals on political participation during this round of discussions. “We’ve worked hard each day, there has been no day in which we haven’t made proposals and solutions,” affirmed the guerrilla group. “There has been no day in which no advance has been made.”
In explaining the lack of progress at the negotiating table, FARC claimed that government negotiators do not represent Colombian society as a whole and have failed to adequately address the concerns of the nation’s poor. The guerrilla group also accused the government of complicating discussions with arguments over word choice and grammatical minutiae. In addition, FARC rejected what it claims are unilateral decisions in regards to a proposed legal framework for peace and a referendum to which any peace agreement would be subjected.