Colombia rebels say peace pact should be signed in Cuba

Havana, June 25 (IANS) A day after the signing here of a cease-fire between the Colombian government and FARC rebels, negotiators for the guerrillas said on Friday that the final peace accord should likewise be signed in the Cuban capital, where the two sides have been talking since November 2012.

“We in the FARC want the peace pact to be signed in Havana,” the chief rebel negotiator Ivan Marquez told a press conference in the Cuban capital.

That position was at odds with what Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday in a session about the cease-fire, when he stated that the final peace accord will be signed in Colombia, EFE news agency reported.

For Marquez, it should be signed in Cuba as a matter of “justice”.

“We’ve worked here for four years to establish agreements,” he said. “Cuba has helped solve problems along with Norway. The guarantor nations have been very important in this work.”

After the agreement on Thursday, the “next step” is the signing of the final pact, the guerrilla chief said, adding that some aspects remain to be resolved at the negotiating table.

Among them is the method of implementing different agreements reached since peace talks began in 2012, such as reintegrating FARC rebels into civil society and transforming the insurgent organization into a political movement.

The FARC negotiators took the occasion to demand the release, for political and humanitarian reasons, of the guerrilla Simon Trinidad, currently serving a sentence in the US.

According to Marquez, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave the guerrilla group “hopes” for Trinidad during a meeting he had with the FARC in Havana last March.



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