Colombia could see a bilateral cease-fire in time for the new year, as President Juan Manuel Santos is urging rebels to sign into an agreement after nearly three years of peace negotiations.
“We are making an effort so that, from now until December 31st we can bring this conflict to an end, and thus be able to decree a ceasefire that is bilateral and internationally verifiable starting January 1st,” Santos said.
The president, an avid Twitter user, also tweeted his declaration:
Negociadores tienen instrucción de acelerar punto fin del conflicto para evaluar posibilidad decretar cese bilateral verificable el 1/1/16.
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) October 28, 2015
After a breakthrough in the peace talks last month, Santos pledged to wrap up negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) by March next year.
But his comments Tuesday suggest that hostilities could cease, with an internationally verifiable truce to end 50 years of fighting in place even before a final agreement is reached.
Rebel leaders have said they’re also willing to speed up talks but have also said that a six-month deadline may be unfeasible unless the government demonstrate greater flexibility at the negotiating table.
Colombia’s 50-year ongoing internal conflict has impacted around 6.7 million victims and taken 220,000 lives.