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Iran Press TV

Colombia leader heads to Havana for deal with FARC

Iran Press TV

Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:59PM

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos heads to Cuba in order to accelerate a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known as FARC.

Santos said in a message on Twitter Wednesday that he would hold a key meeting with government peace negotiators trying to wrap the three-year-old talks in the Cuban capital, Havana.

The president stated that his trip to Havana was 'for a key meeting with negotiators with the objective of accelerating the end of the conflict,' adding, 'Peace is near.'

Sources say the rebel group's leader, Timoleon Jimenez, was also going to Havana, where he is expected to meet with Santos and Cuban President Raul Castro and the negotiating teams.

'Justice at heart of peace talks'

The new development comes a day after government negotiators returned to Havana, where the peace talks are being held.

Colombian government representatives and negotiators from FARC have reached a tentative agreement on a range of issues.

Both sides have reported progress in resolving one of the most difficult issues of the peace talks. However, they are trying to agree on the mechanism of how to bring to justice guerrillas who lay down their arms.

Santos insists that members of FARC must pay for human rights violations in order for a peace deal to be signed.

'Justice is at the heart of the peace negotiations and with an agreement on that issue, the dream of building a country in peace begins to become a reality,' the president's office had earlier said in a statement.

The two sides have been engaged in the on-off negotiations since November 2012, and have so far reached agreement on some issues, including ending the drug trafficking that has fueled the conflict.

FARC, Latin America's oldest rebel group, has been fighting the Colombian government since 1964. Decades of clashes between the two sides have left more than 200,000 people dead and over six million others displaced.

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