Colombia Clinches Key Deal With Leftist Rebels
Colombia and leftist FARC rebels said on Sunday they have reached a deal on land reform, one of the most contentious items in negotiations aimed at ending five decades of insurgency.
The agreement between Bogota and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia would compensate those who have lost land or were displaced from their property, said Cuban diplomat Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, whose country played host to the months-long negotiations.
So far, the talks at the Havana Convention Centre have focused almost entirely on land reform — the first of five agenda items to be discussed.
Land distribution was one of the triggers of the protracted conflict in Colombia, where gaping inequality divides wealthy landowners and poor peasants.
The agreement on agrarian development “seeks to reverse the effects of the conflict and that the victims of forced displacement and looting obtain restitution,” said Fernandez de Cossio, as he read a joint statement from the parties.
The step, the first major advance in six months of peace talks in Havana, was widely celebrated — but it is part of a larger package still being bargained.
The joint statement warns that the advance on agrarian reform is “conditioned on reaching an agreement on the totality of the agenda,” because the talks are based on the principle that “nothing is agreed upon until everything is agreed upon.”