Negotiators release agreements on agricultural reform, illicit drugs and political participation
The government and FARC peace delegations last week released details of the three issues they have already reached agreements on in the five-point talks agenda – the first time they have done so since peace talks began in 2012.
The gesture of transparency is a milestone, as up until last week, the parties refused to release the agreement details, claiming none of the pacts would come into force until after a peace treaty was signed and ratified by the Colombian people in a referendum, local media reported.
The three topics that both sides have agreed to are: agricultural land reform, the FARC’s participation in politics, and the matter of illicit drugs.
Regarding political participation, the government and rebels have agreed to temporarily create reserve seats for conflict areas in Congress in order to “amplify these abandoned regions voices in national politics,” according to documents released last week.
On agricultural reform, the documents show that not all details have been worked out. For example, the negotiators have yet to agree on how much land should be redistributed to small farmers, and for how long.
“For the deconcentration and promotion of more equitable land distribution, the national government will create a Land Fund for free distribution. The land fund will distribute (xxx) million hectares of land in a period of (xxx) years,” the document states.
Colombia’s decades-long fight against illicit drugs is to be solved with a two-year voluntary program of crop substitution, according to a preliminary agreement between the government and the FARC on that point of the agenda.
The delegations are currently discussing how best to compensate victims of the conflict, and are hearing from victims directly, many of whom have flown to Havana to address the negotiators.
By Mark Kennedy