HAVANA, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — Colombian officials and leftist rebels resumed peace talks Monday in Havana, Cuba, with the insurgent group urging voters to use upcoming elections to reject right-wing candidates.
As the two delegations gathered for the latest round of talks following a three-week break, the head negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the group’s second in command, Ivan Marquez, read a statement to the press saying that conservative candidates running for public posts will not uphold the peace talks.
“None of the candidates from the right, much less those from the extreme right, are an option for achieving peace,” said Marquez.
Colombia, which is a little over a year into peace talks designed to put an end to five decades of fighting between armed leftist rebels and state forces, will hold parliamentary elections on March 9 and presidential elections on May 25.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is currently in favor with the electorate for his part in promoting peace negotiations with FARC, and seems poised to be re-elected.
The government delegation, as is customary, did not make any statements to the press as it arrived for the talks, which are expected to tackle FARC’s dependence on the drug trade to finance its resistance movement.
Earlier negotiations, which began on Nov. 17, 2012, have led to accords on rural development and political participation for rebels once they have disarmed.