April 9, 2015 / 6:30 PM / 5 years ago

Colombia to extend suspension of bombing raids on rebels

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia will extend its halt on bombing raids against Marxist FARC rebels for another month, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday after ordering a one-month suspension of the air raids in March to abet talks to end 50 years of war.

Santos said he decided to extend the bombing halt because the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rebels are complying with the unilateral ceasefire they declared almost four months ago.

“The information given to me by the defense ministry and military leaders indicates that during this month the FARC have maintained and respected the unilateral ceasefire,” Santos said during an event in Bogota.

“For that reason I have decided to extend for another month, and I will keep doing it in future.”

In March, Santos characterized the suspension as an effort to deescalate the conflict while negotiations with FARC continue in Havana.

The government has been in peace talks with the FARC rebels for more than two years. The guerrillas declared the ceasefire on Dec. 18.

Negotiators involved in the talks in Cuba have reached partial deals on land reform, rebels’ participation in politics and an end to the illegal drug trade. They are now tackling victim reparations and rebel demobilization.

Reporting by Monica Garcia; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Peter Galloway

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