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Colombia's Attorney General Seeks to Delay Peace with the FARC

Bogotá, October 30 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Colombia's Attorney General Alejandro Ordoñez, a declared opponent of the peace process, has come out against a proposal from President Juan Manuel Santos to speed up discussions to start a bilateral cease-fire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Ordoñez said Thursday that a bilateral agreement should only come once a final deal is signed and that a early cease-fire could delay the end of talks. Both negotiating parties have committed to signing a final peace deal by late March 2016. Ordoñez added that a cease-fire should only come after the turnover of arms. The current negotiations deal only with the abandonment of arms, a term that could mean giving them to a neutral third party, not a handover of those arms to the Colombian state itself. 

The attorney general's comments are being interpreted as a political intervention meant to place obstacles in the peace process, particularly since President Santos had already specified that he would only agree to a bilateral cease-fire if there was agreement on the fifth area of negotiation, which concerns the formal end to the armed conflict.

Meanwhile, Santos, who originally proposed a bilateral cease-fire for Jan. 1, 2016, said he was willing to consider an even earlier date. The FARC instead proposed Dec. 15, 2015, as the start date for the cease-fire.

“The sooner the better because we will save more lives,” said Santos.

The FARC are already observing a unilateral cease-fire, while the government has suspended aerial bombings of camps. Clashes between government forces and the rebels are at historic lows. 

Ordoñez, an ally of far-right former President Alvaro Uribe, has frequently used his post to attempt to derail the peace process. On one occasion, he suggested that the FARC had made the prosecution of Uribe a precondition for a deal, which the FARC peace delegation vehemently denied.
 
Earlier this month, the attorney general also opened an investigation into Colombian Senator Ivan Cepeda, one of the most well-known proponents of the peace process. Critics of Ordoñez accuse him of engaging in a politically-motivated persecution of the leftist senator. 
Edited by Ivan Martínez
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