Colombia's FARC political party "sorry" for ex-leaders' decision to take up arms again

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/8/30 9:59:31

The leftist political party created by the dismantled Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group on Thursday apologized for some of its rebel leaders' decision to take up arms again against the state.

"We apologize to the country and the international community ... They distanced themselves from the (peace) process," said Rodrigo Londono, president of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, a party born of a peace deal signed between the government and the FARC rebels in 2016.

Earlier in the day, several FARC leaders announced they were relaunching their rebel uprising because the government had failed to comply with the terms of the 2016 peace agreement.

The state has mainly failed to protect the former guerrillas from becoming targets of right-wing violence, the lead negotiator to the peace talks, Ivan Marquez, said in a video posted online.

Londono said differences within the FARC create "a situation that enemies of the peace process can take advantage of."

However, most disarmed FARC rebels continue to be "committed to the peace process," he said.

In November 2016, the government of then President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC signed an agreement to put an end to some five decades of fighting between the leftist rebels and government forces.

The agreement was approved by the Colombian Congress the following December. As part of the peace deal, the FARC renounced violence and founded a political party.

Following the signing of the peace agreement, most of the guerrillas exited their jungle hideouts, laid down their weapons and joined a process of transition to civilian life.

Santos praised those committed to the peace deal, and called on authorities to crack down on the "deserters."

Some "90 percent of the FARC is abiding by the peace process. We have to continue to abide by it. The deserters have to be strongly suppressed," he wrote via Twitter.

The United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia issued a statement condemning "the announcement to rearm by a small group of ex-fighters."

The government's lead negotiator to the peace talks, Humberto de la Calle, said "we acknowledge that the vast majority of FARC men and women have complied with the pact, and we invite them to continue with the process of reincorporating into civilian life."

Colombia's former hardline President Alvaro Uribe, whose conservative party is now in power, called on the government to deal with the rebel uprising with an iron fist.

The peace agreement should be overturned, said Uribe on Twitter, adding "what this country needs is a firm hand against these bandits."

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