De la Calle says that there are ‘important differences’ with the FARC
For the past six months, negotiators in Havana have been working towards a deadline of today, March 23, to sign a final peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, however the day passed with no sign of the landmark agreement.
While considerable steps forward have been taken during that time – and also during the the past three and a half years of negotiation – there are still a number of key points left on the table.
Agreements have been reached on the issues of rural reform, illicit drug cultivation, political participation and transitional justice. However, observers had always seen the March 23 deadline as ambitious because several thorny issues still need to be resolved, notably the ‘special demobilisation zones’, details of disarmament and the process for ratifying any eventual agreement.
Speaking this evening, Humberto De La Calle said, “We have to announce that at this moment there are important differences with the FARC guerrillas on substantive issues.”
He stressed the importance of not signing for the sake of signing, “For the government the agreement reached needs to be a good agreement, the best agreement possible for the Colombians, because it is to them that we are indebted and for them that we have been working for three and a half years.”
Rumours had been circulating this week that the delegates may announce a bilateral ceasefire or a roadmap for the upcoming negotiations. However, this evenings’ announcement simply said there is no deal and media headlines were more focussed on tomorrow’s football match with Bolivia.