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Colombian government and rebels agree on ceasefire

September 3, 2023

In a renewed attempt to broker peace, Colombia's leftist President Petro agreed on a ceasefire with an armed dissident group. The EMC is a splinter group that rejected the 2016 deal broadly honored by the larger FARC.

Members of an armed group standing on a mountainous region.
The Colombian government and armed dissidents group EMC, announced a renewed ceasefire.Image: JOAQUIN SARMIENTO/AFP

The Colombian government and armed dissidents called Estado Mayor Central (EMC), announced on Saturday that they had agreed to renew a ceasefire, brokered and broken several times in recent months, and peace talks. 

It's part of leftist President Gustavo Petro's bid to expand on his predecessor's landmark peace deal with the country's biggest rebel group, FARC, which disarmed in 2016.

The current truce will "aim to reduce confrontation and violence" said the joint statement. 

The ceasefire, the statement said, will apply across the country with the aim of including "civil society in the peace process." 

Peace talks in the horizon 

The weekend agreement was made with the EMC, a guerrilla group, which broke away from FARCand rejected the peace negotiations with Colombia's government that began in 2016, continuing hostilities.

Representatives of the EMC and the government began a meeting in the mountains earlier this week seeking an agreement to try to restart negotiations. 

Colombia's dream of lasting peace

Following that, they said that going forward, the peace process would be supervised by other countries and international organizations like the UN, the Organization of American States and the World Council of Churches. 

They did not specify when the peace talks between the government and EMC dissidents would begin. 

Petro's quest for 'total peace'

A previous such ceasefire with the EMC ended in May after President Gustavo Petro accused a faction of the rebel group of murdering four children from the Murui indigenous community in Southern Colombia. 

Colombia's first leftist president sworn in

Petro, elected last year, campaigned on a pledge to pursue "total peace" and to strike accords with the remaining rebel groups in Colombia still fighting over access to drug routes and other illegal commerce, among other things.

ns/msh (AFP, EFE)