The Straits Times
Published on Nov 20, 2012

Colombia's FARC rebels declare ceasefire as talks begin


HAVANA (AFP) - Colombia's leftist FARC rebels declared a unilateral two-month ceasefire on Monday as they began talks in Cuba with the Bogota government on ending Latin America's longest-running insurgency.

But the government of President Juan Manuel Santos immediately made clear it would not be bound by the ceasefire and military operations against the FARC would continue.

The Colombian military is determined to "chase these individuals who have violated all types of laws ... and have attacked the lives and honour of Colombians," Defence Secretary Juan Carlos Pinzon said in Bogota.

Negotiators for the Santos administration and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were in Havana to resume negotiations formally launched last month in Norway, the first attempt at a negotiated peace in 10 years. Mr Ivan Marquez, the head of the FARC delegation, said the rebel ceasefire would take effect at 0500 GMT (1pm Singapore time) on Tuesday and last until January 20.