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Colombian government, rebels in Norway for peace talks

Representatives from the Colombian government and the leftist FARC rebel group have arrived in Oslo, where they'll try to negotiate an end to an armed conflict lasting half a century.

The talks in Norway, which along with Cuba is acting as a mediator in the peace process, will be the fourth time the two sides have tried to seek a negotiated settlement, and the first talks in a decade.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said both parties were taken through a VIP section of Oslo airport to an undisclosed location for meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

It is believed that the Colombian government and FARC have held secret talks in Cuba since February, in which the groundwork for these negotiations was set.

The talks are expected to cover the laying down of arms, rural development, narcotics trafficking, victims' rights and various guarantees for the opposition.

The guerrillas originally formed to demand what they viewed as a just distribution of land. Originally, a number of Colombians supported the guerrilla fighters' demands. However, as the war has dragged on, the number of civilian victims has increased and there is growing support for an end to the fighting.

jr/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)