On Thinner Ice: The Final Phase of Colombia’s Peace Talks

Crisis Group Briefing |Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser

Crisis Group

Workers prepare a banner that reads in Spanish, Dialogue of Peace, prior to a conference of victims of the Colombian armed conflict in Havana, 16 August, 2014. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini


On Thinner Ice: The Final Phase of Colombia’s Peace Talks

Bogotá/Brussels: The peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) enter their toughest stretch both vulnerable and resilient. The former quality was displayed on 22 May, when the collapse of the guerrillas’ five-month old unilateral ceasefire triggered the worst escalation of violence in years. Evidence for the latter came two weeks later, when negotiators ended a year’s drought without major advances by agreeing to establish a truth commission. A separate agreement on reparations also appeared to edge closer. Yet, despite the advances, the talks are on thinner ice than ever. To get them safe to land, the parties must return to an effective de-escalation path, one that moves toward a definitive bilateral ceasefire, once negotiations on the crucial transitional justice issue are sufficiently consolidated. Such gradualism is the best bet to protect the process from unravelling in violence, flagging public support and deep political rifts.

Continue reading....

Podcast In this podcast, Javier Ciurlizza outlines what needs to be done to save Colombia's peace talks from involuntary collapse (español).

Getting out of the current quagmire will be no easy task. Ongoing violence is deepening a sense of crisis, emboldening spoilers and strengthening hardliners. Patience is wearing increasingly thin on all sides as the talks grind forward, but rushing a deal could bring an agreement that is impossible to implement.
Christian Voelkel, Colombia/Andes Senior Analyst, @voelkelchr

Christian Voelkel
Javier Ciurlizza

Joint de-escalation of the conflict may lessen the deep political divisions that haunt the process. But to navigate this dangerous turbulence will also require broadening the social and political base of the talks. The government needs to reinforce the message that peace will benefit all Colombians.
Javier Ciurlizza, Program Director, Latin America, @JavierCiurlizza

Jean-Marie Guéhenno

Business as usual in the Colombia peace talks is no longer an option, as the risks of entering a tailspin are real. But if both parties draw the right conclusions from the current crisis, a stronger peace process could emerge.
Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President & CEO, @JGuehenno









Michael Zumot (Brussels): +32 (0) 2 290 57 62

Nadja Nolting (Brussels): +32 (0) 2 536 00 71

Contact Crisis Group’s Media Unit:

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn YouTube


The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental  organisation covering over 60 crisis-affected countries and territories across four continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.

Donate online >> | Visit Crisis Group’s website >>