The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has welcomed Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announcement extending the ceasefire with the rebels until December 31. In a statement released on Twitter the FARC said: “We are deeply committed to peace and touched by all popular demonstrations in Colombia and abroad that continued to support the peace process in recent weeks.” The group released the statement after Santos on Thursday announced the extension of the bilateral ceasefire with Colombia’s main guerrilla group Efe reported.
The ceasefire between the government and FARC came into effect on August 29, and the Ministry of Defence issued a resolution regulating the measure, which remained in effect until October 2, the day a plebiscite was held which left the implementation of the peace agreement in uncertainty. With a majority of Colombians rejecting the agreement in the referendum, Santos on October 4 initially decided to extend the ceasefire until October 31 to avoid any armed incidents between the parties.
The extension was interpreted in some quarters as a warning against the possible resumption of hostilities which was denied by the defence ministry. In the statement, signed by its top brass, the FARC insisted that “we are ready and with full disposal to put all our attention starting from Tuesday to the workday of discussions on the latest proposals submitted to the President”.
“With patriotic spirit, we will evaluate all proposals, always giving priority to defending the most heartfelt interests and dignity of the Colombian people,” the statement added. Before the referendum results came out – in which ‘no’ won a majority of votes – Santos called for a national dialogue to listen to the proposals of critics of the document.
Parallel to the meetings, the mobilisation of citizens has multiplied in the country, led by university students, demanding progress in the consensus around the peace agreement.