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FARC cautions against signing peace treaty in six months

The Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) warned here Saturday that it was not viable to expect a peace treaty within the agreed-upon six-month timeframe if the Colombian government backtracks on the current partial deal.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos reiterated his pledge to conclude the peace process by March and stated that his government "had given away nothing" during negotiations with the FARC.

In response, the FARC spokesperson, Carlos Antonio Lozada, countered that this "would not be viable if the government begins to question the agreements already signed and causes us to go backwards."

On Sept. 23, negotiators of the two sides signed a historic partial agreement in Havana, committing themselves to finalizing a peace deal before March 23, 2016.

This document contains 18 pages covering 75 agreements on such issues of disarmament, prosecutions and reparations to victims, but only two pages have been released, leading the FARC to demand on Friday that the whole text be made available to the public.

Lozada told the press that the FARC were left perplexed by the government's stance. According to the rebel group, this document is still in development, especially on the removal of ambiguity in the language relating to judicial matters.

Also on Sept. 23, President Santos announced that once a final peace deal is signed by March 23, 2016, the FARC would lay down their arms within 60 days.

The deal, if successful, will end the country's half-century-old civil war, which has left 220,000 people dead and more than 6 million others displaced.

[Source: Xinhua, Havana, 03Oct15]

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