ABColombia welcomes the news that the Colombian Government and the Estado Mayor Central – FARC (EMC) signed, on 19 September 2023, a bilateral ceasefire agreement which will last for ten months and is due to start on 8 October 2023.
The EMC are dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who rejected the 2016 peace deal and refused to sign the Peace Accord between the FARC and the Colombian government.
On Tuesday, 19 September, in a joint statement the EMC and the Colombian Government stated that Peace Talks would start on 8 October and at the same time the 10-month bilateral, national ceasefire would come into effect. The agreement includes a statement to respect civilians, the ceasefire, and a cessation of offensive operations.
In March 2023, at least 19 members of the EMC had their arrest warrants suspended to allow them to participate in peace dialogues with the government. The first bilateral ceasefire made between the EMC and the Government failed because the EMC killed four indigenous boys. The four minors who had been forcibly recruited were shot dead when they attempted to escape.
The government is also engaged in Peace Talks, and has a bilateral ceasefire agreement in operation, with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group. More recently civil society joined in these talks, with representation from many of those most impacted by the conflict, namely women, afro-Colombians, Indigenous Peoples and Campesinos amongst others.