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Colombian Rebels Announce Two-Month Ceasefire

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 19, 2012 Last Updated: November 20, 2012
Related articles: World » South America
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Colombian member of FARC leftist guerrilla delegation, commander Ivan Marquez reads a statement to the press at Convention Palace in Havana during their peace talks with the Colombian government, on Nov. 19. FARC rebels on Monday declared a unilateral two-month ceasefire as they began talks in Cuba with the Bogota government on ending Latin America's longest-running insurgency. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

Colombian member of FARC leftist guerrilla delegation, commander Ivan Marquez reads a statement to the press at Convention Palace in Havana during their peace talks with the Colombian government, on Nov. 19. FARC rebels on Monday declared a unilateral two-month ceasefire as they began talks in Cuba with the Bogota government on ending Latin America's longest-running insurgency. (Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

Marxist Colombian rebel group FARC said it would partake in a ceasefire until early next year.

The announcement was made on Monday, the first day of peace talks in Havana between the communist militant group and the Colombian government, according to media reports.

The ceasefire will take place until Jan. 20, according to Ivan Marquez, the head of FARC, which is known fully as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Since taking arms against the Colombian government in 1964, FARC has been accused of using child soldiers, carrying out terrorist attacks that kill civilians, and drug trafficking, according to the United Nations as well as Human Rights Watch. The group is labeled as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

“This policy decision of the FARC is a contribution made to strengthen the climate of understanding necessary so that the parties that are starting the dialogue achieve the purpose desired by all Colombians,” Marquez was quoted by Reuters as saying.

In recent years, FARC has suffered major losses to the Colombian military, with membership dwindling down to around 8,000 members in 2011, according to a recent estimate by President Juan Manuel Santos.

In the talks held in Havana, Marquez will hold talks with Colombian representative Humberto de la Calle.

“The men sitting down at this table are enemies. They are trying to become friends,” former Colombian Interior Minister Horacio Serpa told The Associated Press on Sunday.

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