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Colombia says talks with FARC to resume

Pause in talks declared by rebels to study government proposal had prompted President Santos to recall team from Cuba.

Last Modified: 25 Aug 2013 09:03
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A government commission has estimated that about 220,000 people have lost their lives in the conflict [EPA]

Colombia government and FARC rebels will resume peace talks, according to the chief government negotiator, a day after both sides cast doubt on the process by suspending negotiations.

President Juan Manuel Santos will send his team back to talks hosted by Cuba on Monday after verifying that FARC was prepared to head back to the negotiating table, Humberto de la Calle, a former vice president of Colombia, said.

"It was carefully noted that FARC had taken the decision to return on Monday at half past eight in the morning to the talks table to continue deliberations as normal," Calle said on Saturday.

On the same day FARC rebels killed 13 soldiers in an attack on a Colombian army patrol along the northeastern border with Venezuela, according to Colombia army. 

The most recent attack of FARC rebels have killed 13 soldiers in an attack on a Colombian army patrol along the northeastern border with Venezuela. 

The attack came on the heels of a separate assault on Wednesday claimed by the FARC's 10th Front that left 15 soldiers dead.

And in May, a FARC attack killed 11 troops.

Ongoing talks

FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is a Marxist–rebel organisation that has been fighting the Colombian army since 1964.

Santos' decision on Friday to recall his team in Havana came after FARC declared a pause in talks to study a government proposal on how to ratify a final peace accord. 

Santos has said he wants talks concluded by the end of the year.

FARC has insisted a constituent assembly be formed and be charged with incorporating the content of the peace deals into the country’s constitution. The government has rejected that demand.

The fighters have also proposed a bilateral ceasefire during the talks, but the government has rejected the proposal, saying it could be used to strengthen the insurgency militarily.

FARC claims to be an armed peasant movement with an anti-imperialism agenda inspired by Bolivarianism.

The group now has about 8,000 fighters, according to the Defence Ministry.

A government commission last month estimated that 220,000 people have lost their lives in the nearly 50-year-old conflict.

Other estimates run as high as 600,000 dead.

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