Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said they will initiate a unilateral cease-fire starting July 20 following a pick-up in violence.
The announcement comes a day after countries assisting peace talks in Havana called for a de-escalation to the conflict that has seen dozens of rebels and government forces killed since an earlier cease-fire ended in May.
“We seek with this to generate conditions that are favorable to advancing with the counterparty towards the establishment of a bilateral and definitive cease-fire,” the statement posted on the FARC’s website said.
The government of President Juan Manuel Santos has been holding peace talks with the FARC since 2012, seeking a deal to end a conflict that began in the 1960s. One reason the talks are taking so long is that the government is insisting the rebels serve jail time, something they aren’t going to accept, a guerrilla commander known as Matias Aldecoa said June 27.
The FARC have also attacked several oil pipelines in Colombia since the end of the previous unilateral cease-fire.