Unilateral FARC Ceasefire Called Off

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The five-month unilateral FARC ceasefire has been called off after a resumed government military offensive against the rebel group.

The ceasefire, which was only observed by FARC and not the Colombian government, was called off after Colombian troops killed 26 FARC rebels. The government claims the attack was in retaliation for an attack that killed 10 Colombian soldiers in April. The Colombian government claims that FARC instigated the attack—a claim that the FARC leadership denies.

According to the U.N., the most recent military ground offensive and guerrilla counter attacks that followed forced 288 indigenous to flee their homes and seek refuge in the town center of Guapi, the municipality where the air strike took place.

The break in the unilateral ceasefire comes amid ongoing peace talks taking place in Havana, Cuba, between FARC and the Colombian government.

FARC has repeated its plea for a bilateral ceasefire with Colombia. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said that Colombia would not observe a ceasefire until a final peace deal is signed.

“Without a doubt the tragic events of last week are a step back,” FARC negotiator Pablo Catatumbo said in a statement. “This is the wrong path and it is obvious peace will never be reached by escalating the conflict.”

Neither side has indicated they plan to back out of the peace talks, though Santos did take to Twitter to call on rebels to “speed up” the negotiations.

Positive results have been seen in the peace talks with FARC. In May 2013, it was announced that one of the most contentious issues between the two sides had been resolved. The agreement on land reform promised to compensate those who had lost land. Also, in March of this year, both sides reached an agreement to work together to remove landmines.

Of the five agenda points of the peace talks, agreements have been reached on land reform, political participation for ex-rebels (which FARC has stated needs to include another rebel group, ELN), and ending the illegal drug trade. Still to be agreed on are the points of FARC demobilization and victim reparations.

Peace talks with FARC began in late 2012 in an attempt to end the 50-year-old conflict between the two sides that has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.

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