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The Colombian government and Marxist rebels are set to hold peace talks in Norway aimed at ending nearly half a century of conflict.
President Juan Manuel Santos has made the latest attempt to negotiate a deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas after recent criticism on security issues, although there have been improvements over the last decade helped by a US backed offensive against the rebels and drug barons.
Before boarding the plane with the rest of his team in Bogota, the government’s chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, said he was optimistic.
“We don’t believe in false expectations but I think the structural elements exist that will allow us to have hope, and hopefully we will have good news for Columbia.”
There was a reported conflict over the composition of the FARC delegation especially the inclusion of Dutch National, Tanja Nijmeijer.
Interpol said Colombia had asked for the lifting of so-called “red-notices”, much like arrest warrants, on several FARC members, but Colombia only controls its own notices and Nijmeijer is also wanted in the US so it could not be lifted.
She is not therefore expected to attend the preliminary meetings in Norway but should be at the table when the talks move to Cuba shortly afterwards, where the focus is expected to be on land, drugs and political participation.