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Iran Press TV

Colombia's Inspector General slams president decision to halt pounding FARC positions

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:30AM

A high-ranking official in Colombia has sharply denounced President Juan Manuel Santos' decision to suspend aerial attacks on the positions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"This announcement means the paralysis of the armed forces against the FARC while that group continues impacting the civilian population with a range of crimes," Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez said in a statement on Wednesday.

In a televised address, the president had announced a one-month halt to the aerial bombardments of FARC positions.

According to the president, the halt is aimed at the "de-escalation of the conflict" while a ceasefire process with FARC is underway.

However, Ordonez, who is widely known for opposing the peace process with FARC, said that stopping the aerial attacks is a de facto bilateral ceasefire, which the president had earlier pledged not to allow.

Ordonez also called on President Santos to clarify whether he is seeking a halt to the ground offensives against FARC as well.

Meanwhile, the government's chief representative in the peace talks with FARC, Humberto de la Calle, dismissed the criticism, arguing that the halt in the aerial attacks was not equal to a bilateral ceasefire.

"We are not going to put the brakes on the work of the armed forces," he added.

Last week, the Colombian government and the FARC rebels reached a deal in the Cuban capital, Havana, to remove land mines and discarded explosives in conflict zones.

On December 20, the FARC launched an indefinite, unilateral ceasefire in an effort to boost the peace talks, which began in Havana in November 2012.

The peace talks have so far produced only partial accords on several issues but have yet to yield a final deal at ending a half-century-old conflict between the rebels and the government.

FARC is Latin America's oldest rebel group and has been fighting the government since 1964.

The rebel organization is thought to have around 8,000 fighters operating across a large swathe of the eastern jungles of the Andean country.

HJM/HJL/HMV



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