HAVANA (AFP) – Negotiators from Colombia’s government and Marxist FARC rebels met Tuesday on resuming peace talks in which the balance of power likely has shifted after rebels freed five army captives.
In their first meeting since President Juan Manuel Santos suspended the talks over the capture of an army general, negotiators from the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia gathered behind closed doors in Havana to discuss getting negotiations back on track.
“The recent successes, which demonstrate the strength of the process and the capacity to overcome obstacles from Havana, should make us take a leap forward,” said the government’s chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, on the sidelines of the meeting.
After a first closed-door meeting that took more than four hours, there were no agreements on pending issues, according to a source who said the talks were moving along “calmly and respectfully.” The talks resume Wednesday.
Analysts said the FARC’s show of strength in capturing General Ruben Alzate, their highest-ranking captive in 50 years of conflict – coupled with their readiness to compromise by releasing him two weeks later – likely gave them added bargaining power.