MERCO PRESS (Uruguay), TELESUR (Venezuela), BBC (UK), AP, REUTERS
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos rejected a proposal by FARC rebels for a bilateral ceasefire during talks next month aimed at bringing an end to half a century of war, reports MercoPress.
The call for both sides to put down their weapons while talks are under way in Norway came earlier from leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia at a news conference in Havana, Cuba, according to Reuters.
President Santos said that would not happen, and that Colombian military and police had been instructed to intensify offensive actions against the rebels, reports the AP.
“There’s not going to be a ceasefire. We will not five anything until we get the final agreement, and I want to make that very clear,” the president told Telesur.
MercoPress notes that the FARC proposal and its rejection by the government could complicate the process from the start, as Santos is adamant that Colombian military operations would continue across “every centimeter” of the Andean nation.
Mr Santos added that he did not want to "repeat the mistakes of the past." This is a reference to the failed peace talks in 2002, which is believed to have given time to the FARC to regroup: the rebels used a demilitarized area the size of Switzerland to beef up their military operations and establish a multibillion-dollar drug-trafficking network, writes MercoPress.