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Colombian rebels say peace talks going well

HAVANA, Cuba — HAVANA (AP) — A senior commander of Colombia’s main rebel group said Tuesday that days of intensive peace talks with the government are going well, the clearest signal yet that the half-century-long conflict may eventually be resolved.

Jesus Santrich noted that negotiators from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government, meeting in Havana, have already agreed to support a broad forum in Bogota in December to discuss agrarian development, which has been an issue in the class-based conflict.

“Up until now we have had good results,” Santrich said upon entering the seventh day of talks at a convention centre in the Cuban capital. “There has been agreement. We are on the same wavelength.”

Participants say the forum agreement is significant because it means both sides have accepted a basic framework for the negotiations centred upon six themes including land reform, victim compensation, drug trafficking and reinsertion of the rebels into society.

It is also hoped that the forum — which is being organized by the United Nations and the National University of Colombia — will give Colombian society a greater stake in the success of the negotiations, making an eventual agreement more likely.

The two sides are expected to break for Christmas, and restart talks in January armed with a report on the forum’s findings.



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