Location Venezuela Venezuela

FARC Leader Timochenko Commits to Disarmament of Rebels

FARC leader Timochenko wrote an open letter to the government, saying the guerrillas will disarm, but more needs to be done to stop paramilitaries.
The head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Timoleon Jimenez, penned an open letter to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos refuting some of the statements in the media made about the ongoing peace negotiations and reaffirming the rebel group’s desire to disarm and achieve peace.
After missing a self-imposed deadline to sign a final peace agreement, the two parties continue to negotiate the final points of the agenda and the formal end of the conflict.
This phase of the negotiations has been slowed over disagreements on key issues. Officials from the Santos government have also made public allegations that the FARC is unwilling to disarm.
Santos himself has called on the negotiators for the guerrilla group to provide a precise date for disarmament. The Colombian president has so far been reticent to agree to, or set a date for, a bilateral ceasefire.
In his letter Jimenez, also known as Timochenko, reiterated the rebel group’s willingness to disarm but that they would only do so prudently.
“Keeping our weapons does not interest us as much as preserving life does,” wrote Timochenko.
“Deadlines cannot be open for one of the parties and fixed, precise and firm for the other. That is why we must be prudent, working to develop agreements simultaneously and comprehensibly,” he added.
Timochenko also touched on the other outstanding disagreement in the negotiations, the need to contain the threat posed by paramilitaries, otherwise known as death squads.
“Does anyone still believe that paramilitarism, personal attacks and delivery of daily hatreds, are not real threats to the unarmed insurgency and the popular movement?” asked Timochenko.
The FARC has stressed that the continued threat of paramilitaries is a threat to peace itself.
Parts of Colombia were recently witness to an “armed shutdown” by paramilitaries, in which people were threatened to keep their businesses shut and in some cases killed if they tried to open. The shutdown demonstrates that armed non-state actors continue to hold considerable influence in the country.
“Of course the link between politics and weapons must stop forever in Colombia, no more state terror, no more hatred, no more paramilitarism, no more strikes and marches against peace,” said Timochenko.
The rebel head ended his letter on an optimistic note, saying “We will achieve this, Santos, we are sure of this.”

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/FARC-Leader-Timochenko-Commits-to-Disarmament-of-Rebels-20160409-0059.html

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