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Colombian government, FARC conclude first stage of peace talks in Cuba

Colombian government, FARC conclude first stage of peace talks in Cuba

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The Colombian government and the country's largest rebel group FARC have concluded the first stage of peace talks in Cuba, the president's office said in a statement.

The historic negotiations to end decades of bloody conflict began in Norway on October 18 and then moved to the Cuban capital Havana on November 19.

The focus of the talks during the first stage was land reform, which is one of the main issues on the peace agenda.

The government's chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle said that the negotiations had advanced according to the parties' expectations.

The second stage of the talks in Cuba will begin on December 5.

De la Calle also said that there will be a public forum in Bogotá from December 17-19 to allow the general public to provide the negotiating teams with proposals and recommendations.

The chief negotiator reiterated that the government expects to see concrete results from the talks in a matter of months and that the final goal is for the FARC to give up their armed struggle and become an actor in Colombia's political life.

When the negotiations started in Cuba, the FARC announced a unilateral two-month truce. The government has refused to do this, saying that when this was done during past peace talks the FARC took advantage of the cease-fire agreements.