"This report provides background on Colombia's armed conflict and describes its key players. It briefly analyzes prior negotiations with the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] and the lessons learned from those efforts that apply to the current talks. It examines what has transpired in the talks during more than two years of closed door sessions. A recent significant development was the FARC's announcement of a unilateral ceasefire that went into effect on December 20, 2014. According to the FARC, it was unlike previous ceasefires because it would be upheld indefinitely as long as the Colombian military refrained from attacking its forces. The government, after announcing at the outset of the talks that it would not issue a ceasefire and would continue to pursue all illegal armed groups, announced in mid-January 2015 it would reconsider that position. President Santos urged that the bilateral ceasefire proposal be addressed in future talks. The report also examines some of the constraints that could limit the success of the peace talks and looks at the prospects for the current negotiations. It addresses such questions as why the talks are occurring now, what role might the United States have as the negotiations go forward, and finally how a potential peace agreement--or the absence of an agreement--might influence the future of U.S.-Colombian relations."
CRS Report for Congress, R42982
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html