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Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:19 PM

Colombian rebels call truce as peace talks start

Colombian rebels call truce as peace talks start
By Jeff Franks and Helen Murphy and Jack Kimball | Reuters 15 minutes ago

HAVANA/BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's Marxist rebels called a two-month unilateral ceasefire on Monday, the first truce in more than a decade, as delicate peace talks began in Cuba to try to end a half century of war.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' government reiterated, however, that there would be no halt to military operations until a final peace deal is signed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC.

The rebel group said it would halt all offensive military operations and acts of sabotage against infrastructure beginning at midnight on Monday and running through January 20.

"This decision by the FARC is a decisive contribution to strengthen the climate of understanding needed so the parties ... can achieve the purpose desired by all Colombians," lead rebel negotiator Ivan Marquez said, standing outside a convention center for the start of talks in Havana.


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