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FARC announces unilateral ceasefire

December 17, 2014

Colombia's leftist FARC guerrillas have declared an indefinite, unilateral ceasefire. They said they hoped this would lead to an armistice to put an end to five decades of conflict.

Kuba - Friedensgespräche zwischen der FARC und der kolumbianischen Regierung
Image: Getty Images/ Y. Lage

In a statement published on their Twitter account on Wednesday the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) wrote they would suspend hostilities starting on Saturday - as long as the army did not attack them.

"This unilateral ceasefire, which we hope will last a long time, will end only if our guerrilla units have been the object of attacks by the security forces."

Representatives of the Marxist rebel group and the government had held a series of talks in Havana since 2012, with the latest having started one week ago (FARC commanders Rodrigo Granda and Erica pictured above).

In its communique FARC went on to express the hope that the ceasefire would "transform into an armistice," and said it would count on the help of international bodies such as the group of South American nations, UNASUR.

FARC have repeatedly called for a bilateral ceasefire as part of the ongoing peace process, but Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos continually rejected the demand, expressing doubt at the rebels' sincerity. He suggested they could use a ceasefire to regroup, dragging out the conflict.

The latest negotiations were suspended last month when FARC captured Colombian General Ruben Dario Alzate, in what they described as a legitimate act of war. They then released the general on November 30 in order to revive the peace process.

The Colombian conflict has killed over 220,000 people and displaced 5.3 million since FARC was founded in the aftermath of a peasant uprising in 1964.

rg/bk (AFP, AP)