EMC Peace Talks Timeline

The Estado Mayor Central (EMC) are dissidents of the Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia (FARC-EP), who rejected the 2016 peace deal and refused to sign the Peace Accord between the FARC and the Colombian government.

It is estimated that the EMC currently has some 3,500 members, with 2,200 combatants and is comprised of 4 main bloques and 46 subestrucutras. The EMC operates in 23 out of 32 provinces in Colombia with the most activity in Cauca, in the south-west of Colombia.[1]

31 December 2022

Six-month ceasefire with major armed groups announced

At the end of 2022, President Petro announces that the government had agreed to bilateral ceasefires with the five main armed groups in Colombia, including the Estado Mayor Central (EMC) – dissidents of the now defunct FARC-EP.

March 2023

EMC members have arrest warrants suspended

At least 19 EMC members have their arrest warrants suspended. This allows them to participate in peace dialogues with the government.

May 2023

Ceasefire suspended

The bilateral ceasefire between the EMC and the Government fails because the EMC murders four indigenous boys. The four minors who had been forcibly recruited were shot dead when they attempted to escape.

19 September 2023

Government and EMC sign bilateral ceasefire agreement

The Colombian Government and the EMC sign a new ten-month bilateral ceasefire agreement.

The agreement includes a statement to respect civilians, the ceasefire, and the cessation of offensive operations.

8 October 2023

Peace talks & bilateral ceasefire postponed

The planned peace talks are postponed by a week due to persistent fighting between the EMC and state security forces, particularly in southwest Colombia and disagreements over the specifics of the ceasefire.

16 October 2023

Peace talks officially begin

The government and the EMC formally kick off peace talks after Petro orders his security forces to cease all operations against the EMC.

5 November 2023

EMC temporarily withdraws from talks

Despite the withdrawal from the negotiation table, the bilateral ceasefire remains in place. The EMC claims that the government had failed to uphold its commitments.

15 November 2023

Peace talks resume

A new cycle of peace talks begins. The EMC reconfigure the negotiating team and appoint three temporary advisers to the process, including senior military commanders. This increases the profile of the delegation and leaning towards the military wing.

12 December 2023

EMC puts an end to kidnapping

The EMC and Colombian government make various agreements, including a pledge to stop kidnapping for ransom. This comes after the infamous kidnapping of footballer Luis Díaz’s father.

8 January 2024

Peace talks resume in Bogotá

These are the third cycle of talks between the parties, which last until 20 January 2024.

14 January 2024

Bilateral ceasefire extended by six months

The government and the EMC agree to extend the ceasefire (due to expire in January 2024) by six months to facilitate ongoing peace talks.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Peace reports that Decree 0016 of 14 January 2024, signed by the Minister of Defense, Iván Velásquez Gómez, orders “the suspension of offensive military operations and police operations, as well as acts contrary to what is established in the Protocol of Rules and Commitments agreed between the parties at the Peace Talks.”

The Decree also states that the parties may agree on new objectives  “aimed at strengthening the peace process, deepening territorial transformations and replacing illicit economies and protecting the environment, the participation of society, and the humanitarian protection of the civilian population”.

The government is also engaged in Peace Talks with the ELN and the Segunda Marquetalia.

[1] https://indepaz.org.co/el-accionar-de-los-grupos-armados-en-el-contexto-de-la-paz-total/ (pages 4 & 12).