Colombia's FARC rebels say peace deal cannot be rushed

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 24, 2015 3:25 PM

HAVANA (Reuters) - Colombia's FARC guerrillas on Friday resisted the government's request to accelerate peace talks, saying "peace cannot be achieved with a stopwatch in hand."

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have fought a Marxist-inspired insurgency for 50 years in Latin America's longest war, which has killed some 220,000 people and displaced millions.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has repeatedly urged a rapid conclusion to peace talks, which have taken place in Havana for nearly two and a half years.

In an open letter to Santos, the FARC on Friday blamed the government for unnecessary delays.

Peace talks suffered a setback earlier this month when a rebel attacked killed 11 soldiers in rural Cauca province despite a unilateral rebel ceasefire.

The FARC called the combat a legitimate case of self-defense while the Bogota government saw it as a brazen attack.

Santos ordered the resumption of aerial attacks on rebel positions as a result. He had previously halted air raids in recognition of the FARC's unilateral ceasefire.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bernard Orr)