Oslo FARC talks mainly bring delays, doubts / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Oslo FARC talks mainly bring delays, doubts. UPDATED: This week’s now delayed Columbian government-FARC rebel talks in Norway’s capital are delayed and diminished. At the same time, there is careful optimism amongst the fragile hopes on the rocky road to trust and peace. Bad weather and consequently disrupted flight traffic have meant both parties have had to push negotiations back. Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will not confirm to The Foreigner when these will now start. The latest delay follows the earlier one-week one. Norway has previously held peace talks in Colombia but these had little success.

farc, oslonegotiations



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Oslo FARC talks mainly bring delays, doubts

Published on Monday, 15th October, 2012 at 15:46 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 15th October 2012 at 16:39.

UPDATED: This week’s now delayed Columbian government-FARC rebel talks in Norway’s capital are delayed and diminished. At the same time, there is careful optimism amongst the fragile hopes on the rocky road to trust and peace.



Bad weather and consequently disrupted flight traffic have meant both parties have had to push negotiations back.

Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will not confirm to The Foreigner when these will now start. The latest delay follows the earlier one-week one. Norway has previously held peace talks in Colombia but these had little success.

“We are still planning the press conference will take place on Wednesday,” is all an MFA press spokesperson would say about this week’s dialogue.

Also surrounding the talks is a previous statement by one of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia’s (FARC) leaders that he expects no breakthrough.

There is uncertainty about adequate assurances the guerrilla representatives will not be apprehended due to international arrest warrants too – President Juan Manuel Santos, Rightist President Alvaro Uribe’s Centre-Right successor, has warned the faction has no safe haven.

Moreover, the group’s negotiators are also almost exclusively lesser ones – Joaquin Bomez and Fabian Ramirez, who took partook in earlier talks are not scheduled to participate.

This caused 1998-2002 peace talks overseer Andres Pastrana to comment “the question we have to ask is: Is the FARC monolithically united behind this process?” The Washington Post reports him as saying.

FARC’s Ricardo Palmera, currently serving as 60-year prison sentence in the US and the only negotiator well-known to Colombians, may be allowed to participate in the talks from a Colorado jail via teleconference, according to Colombia’s chief prosecutor.

Otherwise, military raids have caused the death of many former FARC top dogs, including Jorge Briceno, Mono Joy, and Alfonso Cano.

Manuel Marulanda Venéz reportedly died of coronary failure in 2008 prior to the death of Raul Reyes, killed in Ecuador in a cross-border military raid.

According to the Washington Post, the lesser FARC negotiator team includes Marco Leon Calarca – public voice for the rebels in the 1990s – and Ivan Marquez, one of the ruling six-man Secretariat’s members.

Meanwhile, expert commentators are cautiously optimistic about the talks process – which start in Oslo and move to Havana later this month – aimed at ending the 48-year-long war, Latin America’s longest-running armed conflict.

 “President [Juan Manuel] Santos has shown himself to be pragmatic, proposing armed groups a way out of war,” Gimena Sanchez, senior Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) tells France24. “The FARC are fragmented and weakened. They pledged to stop kidnapping civilians and agreed to hold these talks outside the country – a point they have never been open to before.”

The Colombian President is reportedly taking advantage of the FARC’s admiration for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, naming the country as one of four to take part in the negotiations. Chile and Cuba are the other countries.

US Rutgers University conflict resolution expert Aldo Civico says to The Independent, “Chavez has been extremely active on the peace process, not only logistically. My understanding is that he has been able to talk to the members of the FARC negotiation tem and encourage them to stay within the dynamic of the peace talks, to engage constructively.”

The Foreigner spoke with Benedicte Bull, associate professor at the University of Oslo’s (UiO) Centre for Development and environment and leader for the Norwegian effort for Latin American research.

Why are the talks being held here?

“Norway doesn’t operate with a list of terrorist organisations on Norwegian soil like the US and EU do, for example. It’s also a small country with a small bureaucracy where decisions can be made quickly,” she explains.

“Norway also likes to see itself as a country that can create peace wherever possible, and is still looked upon as very neutral.”

Do you think Norway will change from being facilitator to mediator at some stage during this process?

“It depends how the talks go. It might be willing to step in with a more active role, but people are holding their breath as to the process’ progress. Most Colombians want peace, and Norway is trying to be discreet in what is an extremely delicate situation,” she concludes.



Published on Monday, 15th October, 2012 at 15:46 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 15th October 2012 at 16:39.

This post has the following tags: farc, oslonegotiations.





  
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