Colombian government, FARC reach agreement on land issue

Havana, May 27 (IANS/EFE) The Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas announced here Sunday that they have reached an agreement on the issue of land, the first point on the agenda created for the peace talks they are pursuing in the Cuban capital.

The agreement was made public in a formal ceremony at the Conventions Palace in Havana in the presence of negotiators from the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, as well as representatives of the talks’ guarantor nations of Cuba and Norway and observer states Venezuela and Chile.

The parties reached agreement on issues such as access to and use of land, idle or unproductive land, determining property rights and protection of the Reserve Zone, according to a joint communique.

Colombia and the FARC also reached consensus on development programs with a territorial focus, infrastructure and rural social development in areas such as health care, education, housing and the eradication of poverty.

The joint communique said that the agreement is “the start of radical transformations in Colombia’s rural and agrarian reality with equity and democracy”, and it “focuses on the people, the small producer, access and distribution of land and the fight against poverty, stimulating agricultural production and reactivating the rural economy”.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that the accord was a “fundamental step toward a full agreement to put an end to half a century of conflict”, and Colombian Senate chief Roy Barreras called it “a great historic and irreversible step”.



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