Farc rebels declare unilateral ceasefire


Colombia’s Farc rebels announced a two-month unilateral ceasefire yesterday, the first truce in more than a decade, as peace negotiators met in Cuba in the latest attempt to end the five-decade war.

But President Juan Manuel Santos’s government has said it will not cease military operations until a final peace deal is signed with the Andean country’s largest rebel group and even vowed to step up the offensive. The Farc, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, said it would halt all military operations and acts of sabotage against infrastructure beginning yesterday and running  until 20 January.

The conflict has dragged on for nearly half a century, taking thousands of lives and displacing millions. Failure would mean years more of fighting and further blight the reputation of a country eager for more foreign investment and regional clout. The conflict proved to be intractable in three previous peace processes, but the government and Farc have expressed optimism that this time might be different.