Mar 2012

Recent developments in Colombia suggest that the government and FARC each now recognise that violence is not solved by more violence. Both sides have taken important steps but the challenge remains to define the roadmap to peace.

The government is finally addressing some of the structural difficulties within the country – acknowledging the rights of victims, the land problem and the need for a new global approach in the fight against drugs.

Meanwhile, with growing calls for a negotiated solution and FARC's announcement to end its use of kidnapping, recent declarations by the insurgency group suggest a recognition that its armed struggle is exhausted and that the ends may no longer justify the means.

However, neither side has yet turned its back on the possibility of armed confrontation. The route is still missing a signpost. To progress further, all sides need to learn from the successes and mistakes of the past. Colombia should draw inspiration from previous negotiations, as well as the experience of many other countries and recent worldwide developments.

Together, Colombians must adjust to present day realities and point the way to a peaceful path for future generations. Negotiations are important but much more can be done by a lot more people outside the negotiating room.

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