Colombia Peace Talks briefing

5 December 2012

On 30 November UCL-IA published a Policy Brief on the current peace talks between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples’ Army (FARC-EP). This brief was prepared by Andrei Gomez Suarez (Sussex) and Par Engstrom (UCL-IA). The authors convened a group of experts at the UCL Institute of the Americas on 26 October 2012 to discuss the prospects for a negotiated end to the Colombian armed conflict.

Executive summary

After successive past attempts to reach peace agreements there are important reasons to be optimistic that the current talks between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples’ Army (FARC-EP) may lead to a political solution of the armed conflict in Colombia. A close examination of the ongoing peace talks suggests that a confluence of factors provides a window of opportunity for negotiations, including a positive international context, on-going structural reforms in Colombia, and the willingness of the parties to focus on a limited negotiating agenda. There are nonetheless two key issues of concern that may derail the incipient peace process: first, is the Santos administration able to ensure the support of influential regional elites in Colombia? Such support will be central for the provision of political guarantees and security of demobilised FARC members. Second, will the FARC leadership be able to prevent the splintering of the organisation? The fragmentation of FARC could potentially increase violence, which could not only transform the armed conflict, but also directly affect the process of ensuring the political participation of FARC following the signing of a peace agreement.

The policy brief is available for download here.