FARC can be in politics after being disarmed: Colombia

Havana, April 30 (IANS) The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels will be able to participate in the country’s political life once they are disarmed, said the Colombian government delegation which is holding peace talks with them.

“Without weapons, the government will offer the guarantees needed” for the insurgent group to “incorporate into democracy”, said chief government negotiator Humberto De la Calle before talks resumed at Havana’s Convention Palace Monday, reported Xinhua.

“It is useful for the government to expand the framework of participation and consolidate a law that guarantees the rights of the opposition,” De la Calle said in a statement read to the press.

In the Colombian capital Bogota over the weekend, Colombians were invited to take part in a public forum called “Political Participation and Democratic Guarantees” to collect the public’s opinions and ideas on the latest round of peace negotiations.

“We hope that the proposals that emerge from this forum serve as material for the peace talks,” said De la Calle, a former vice president.

The FARC delegation said the forum was a “laudable effort” by Colombian society to contribute to the peace talks.

The forum “can provide points of light for overcoming the violence”, said Rebel envoy Marco Leon Calarca.

Colombians from various sectors of society are taking part in the forum, set to end Tuesday, and the public’s proposals are to be submitted to both delegations May 20.

Leon reiterated the rebel group’s call to have a Constituent Assembly to endorse the agreements to be reached at the peace talks.

Monday’s talks marked the beginning of the eighth round of negotiations, seeking to end

five decades of fighting between government forces and the rebels.

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