Half Peace

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The Colombian government agreed to a six-month ceasefire with the five largest armed groups in the country, a truce that is part of leftist President Gustavo Petro’s efforts to end decades of conflict in Colombia, Agence France-Presse reported.

Petro announced the ceasefire on New Year’s Eve, adding that it could be extended “depending on progress in the negotiations.” Among the groups participating in the deal are the leftist insurgency group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), and two splinter factions of the now-demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The announcement comes as the Colombian government is continuing to negotiate with various armed groups to end more than 50 years of conflict between the state and groups of left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and drug traffickers.

A landmark 2016 peace deal put an end to years of conflict between the government and the leftwing FARC rebels.

Following his election victory last year, Petro – a former guerrilla fighter and Colombia’s first leftist president – vowed to negotiate with all Colombian armed groups as part of a “total peace” policy.

Since November, the government has been engaged in peace talks with ELN rebels – the last recognized insurgency group in the country.

Even so, the Colombia-based Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz) warned that the violence in the country continues as armed groups fight over drug trafficking revenues and other illegal businesses.

There are currently around 90 political and criminal groups operating in the country, according to the think tank.

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