Colombia signed an agreement on land use with the nation’s biggest guerrilla group as part of peace talks to end a half-century-long conflict, President Juan Manuel Santos said.
The deal was announced today in Havana, where the government began talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia six months ago. Land is the first issue on a six-point agenda for the negotiations, Santos said in a statement posted on the presidential website.
Talks with the Marxist guerrilla group aimed at ending Latin America’s longest running civil conflict began in October. Military victories over the group have opened up swathes of countryside for companies to explore for crude, coal and gold, with state-run oil producer Ecopetrol SA expanding drilling into areas previously under rebel control.
“We truly celebrate this fundamental step in Havana towards a full agreement to put an end to half a century of conflict,” Santos said. “We continue with the process prudently and responsibly.”
The deal with the group known as the FARC covers land rights, farming and investment in infrastructure, housing and water supply, Radio Caracol reported.
The next round of talks will begin June 11, the Bogota-based radio station said, citing comments made during a press conference today in Havana.