Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia suspends air strikes against Farc camps

Colombian police patrol El Mango against Farc rebels. 28 June 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Colombian security services have clashed with the Farc, despite peace talks

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered government forces to suspend air strikes against camps belonging to Farc rebels.

The move comes days after the Farc began a month-long unilateral ceasefire in a bid to accelerate peace talks.

President Santos said his order only applied to camps outside urban areas which did not pose a threat to the local population.

Peace talks have been taking place in Cuba since 2012.

However, the process has been hampered in recent months by an upsurge in violence.

"I have issued the order to stop, as of today, bombing raids against camps where there are members of that group," Mr Santos said at a military event in Cartagena.

"From now on, this type of bombing will only be done by explicit order of the president."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Peace talks in Havana have been going on since 2012

BBC Colombia correspondent Natalio Cosoy says the move is a new step towards de-escalating the conflict.

More than 200,000 people have been killed since hostilities started in 1964.

Earlier this month, four countries helping to facilitate the peace talks - Cuba, Norway, Chile and Venezuela - called for a de-escalation in violence.

Announcing the unilateral ceasefire, Farc's chief negotiator Ivan Marquez said he hoped it could lead to a bilateral truce.

The government initially welcomed the move but said the rebels needed to do more.

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