Colombian government, rebels restart suspended peace talks

by Reuters
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:23 GMT

Mediator Jose Luis Ponce of Cuba, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) lead negotiator Ivan Marquez, FARC negotiator Pastor Alape, Colombia's lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle and Colombia's government negotiator Sergio Jaramillo (L-R) meet in Havana December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

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Colombia suspended two-year-old peace talks while Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) captured army general

HAVANA, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The Colombian government and leftist FARC guerrillas on Wednesday restarted peace talks that had been suspended over the rebel capture of an army general who has since been released.

"The events of the previous few weeks are behind us," chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle said in a statement moments before heading into a closed-door session with the rebels.

The two-year-old talks in Cuba seek to end a 50-year-old war that has killed 200,000 people.

President Juan Manuel Santos suspended talks on Nov. 16 after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) seized army general Ruben Dario Alzate, one of five people taken by the guerrillas in two separate incidents.

Santos insisted there would be no more negotiations until all five hostages were freed.

The rebels released two soldiers on Nov. 25 and the other three - Alzate, a soldier and a civilian lawyer - were set free on Nov. 30. Alzate has since resigned from the army.

Santos has said he would like to reach a comprehensive accord by the end of 2015. Any agreement would then be put before Colombian voters for approval.

(Reporting by Nelson Acosta; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Matthew Lewis)

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