Peace talks between Colombian government and FARC dissident group to begin in May

The announcement was made during a public event held in Caquetá with the objective of sharing the group’s proposals for peace talks with social organizations and requesting their participation in the peace process

April 19, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
On April 16, around 7,000 people, including members of Afro-descendant, Indigenous, peasant and social organizations from the 16 departments of the country, met in Yari, Caquetá, on the Estado Mayor Central (EMC) guerilla group’s request. Photo: EMC FARC EP/Twitter

On Sunday, April 16, the Estado Mayor Central (EMC), a dissident group of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) guerilla group, announced that the peace talks with the government of President Gustavo Petro will officially begin on May 16.

“We announce to the whole world that our delegates to the dialogue table with the Colombian State, headed by the national government, are ready to begin peace negotiations on May 16 of this year,” said Ángela Izquierdo, one of the spokespersons for EMC, during a public event held in the Yarí plains, Caquetá department.

Izquierdo also confirmed that as announced by the High Commissioner for Peace Iván Danilo Rueda last week, the Oversight, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVMV) to validate that the dissidents has complied with the bilateral ceasefire agreed with the government would be installed on April 26 in the capital Bogota. The ceasefire began on January 1 and will be in force till June 30.

On Sunday, nearly 7,000 people, including members of Afro-descendant, Indigenous, peasant and social organizations from the 16 departments of the country where the group’s structures operate, gathered in Yari on the EMC’s invitation. The objective of the public event was to present their proposals for the peace talks with the Petro government before the people, and to request the organizations to participate actively in the peace negotiation process.

The place where the negotiating table will be installed is not yet confirmed. However, prior to the event, Andrey Avendaño, one of the commanders of the EMC, told local media that one of the proposals that would be presented to the government included beginning the peace talks in Norway. Avendaño also said that the rounds of talks would be held on an itinerant basis and would take place in different departments where they operate.

The event was also attended by High Commissioner for Peace Rueda as well as representatives of the international community such as Norwegian ambassador Nils Martin Gunneng, Irish ambassador Fiona Nic Dhonnacha, EU ambassador Gilles Bertrand, deputy head of the UN Verification Mission Raúl Rosende, and representative of the Catholic Church Monsignor Héctor Fabio Henao, among others.

The EMC group, led by Iván Mordisco, has around 3,000 combatants who refused to sign the 2016 Havana Peace Agreement, which paved the way for FARC rebels to lay down arms and form a political party.

The representative of the Petro government first met with the representatives of the EMC in September 2022 to assess the possibility of initiating dialogues to forward the goals of President Petro’s “total peace” policy. In March, the Attorney General of the Nation, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, suspended arrest warrants against 19 members of the rebel group to facilitate the beginning of peace negotiations.