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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