Farc rebels confirm Colombia peace talks

2012-09-03 16:53

Bogota - The head of Colombia's Farc rebels confirmed on Monday that exploratory talks with President Juan Manuel Santos's government on reaching a peace settlement are under way.

"We come to the table for dialogue without rancor, or arrogance," Farc leader Rodrigo Londono said in a broadcast on the Caracol radio station.

It was the first comment from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia since the announcement a week ago by President Santos of preliminary talks to pave the way for ending a conflict that has ground on for nearly 50 years.

Londono gave no other details.

Caracol said the statement was the audio portion of a video posted on the Farc website, which was down on Monday morning.

Colombian press reports said full blown peace talks are due to begin in October, first in Norway and then continuing in Cuba.

The president said in his announcement that the government would not cease military operations against the Farc while contacts were under way.

Founded in 1964, the Farc are Colombia's oldest rebel group and draw their roots from anger among landless peasants in a country with a gaping divide between rich and poor.

The Farcnow have about 9 200 fighters, down by half over the past decade after a series of military successes by the army, and have been driven largely into rural areas.

Colombia has seen peace talks come and go before. The last attempt was in 2002.