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Colombian Rebel Group Agrees to “Unilateral Ceasefire”

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A Colombian breakaway group of former FARC insurgents known as Segunda Marquetalia has agreed to a “unilateral ceasefire” and the release of detainees following talks with the government, according to a joint statement.

The discussions, held in Venezuela’s capital Caracas, are the third launched by Colombia’s leftist President Gustavo Petro, who has faced numerous challenges in his efforts to resolve six decades of violence between his country’s security forces, guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug gangs.

According to a document signed on Saturday by chief government negotiator Armando Novoa and rebel representative Walter Mendoza, the delegations to the talks agreed on “the unilateral ceasefire of the Second Marquetalia-EB (Ejercito Bolivariano, or Bolivarian army)” and committed to “delivery of the people they are holding.”

The agreement’s start date was not given, but the text viewed by AFP states that “the full implementation of de-escalation will begin as soon as the presidential decree on offensive military operations comes into force”.

According to the statement, the unilateral ceasefire does not limit the “constitutional and legal powers” of national security forces. It further states the rebel group decided “not to remain armed or in uniform” in metropolitan areas or “land and river routes.”

The two parties will meet in Tumaco, in western Colombia’s Narino state, “no later than July 20” to deliver the “de-escalation” agreement and establish a timeline for finding social and economic initiatives.

Segunda Marquetalia is a rebel faction that broke away from the historic 2016 cease-fire agreement with FARC guerrillas.

Since 2022, the Colombian government has been in sporadic talks with the Marxist National Liberation Army (ELN), which was responsible for the kidnapping of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz’s father last October.

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