World

Colombia, FARC rebels miss peace talk deadline: 'substantial differences' remain

384090 01: ***EXCLUSIVE*** Two members of the AUC, the United Self Defense Force of Colombia, the extreme right paramilitary group, patrol a coca leaf plantation where a manual eradication of the coca leaves has gone into effect January 8, 2001 in the province of Putumayo, Colombia. Since the U.S. aid plan for Colombia began last December 15, the AUC are manually destroying coca leaves with machetes in and around the vast areas of coca leaf plantations south of Putumayo. The Colombian leftist guerrilla group, the FARC, is attempting to take control of areas that were under their control, not more than a year ago. (Photo by Piero Pomponi/Newsmakers)

384090 01: ***EXCLUSIVE*** Two members of the AUC, the United Self Defense Force of Colombia, the extreme right paramilitary group, patrol a coca leaf plantation where a manual eradication of the coca leaves has gone into effect January 8, 2001 in the province of Putumayo, Colombia. Since the U.S. aid plan for Colombia began last December 15, the AUC are manually destroying coca leaves with machetes in and around the vast areas of coca leaf plantations south of Putumayo. The Colombian leftist guerrilla group, the FARC, is attempting to take control of areas that were under their control, not more than a year ago. (Photo by Piero Pomponi/Newsmakers)  ((Photo by Piero Pomponi/Newsmakers))

Colombia's government and leftist rebels have missed the target for reaching a deal to end the country's half-century conflict.

After a breakthrough in long-running talks six months ago President Juan Manuel Santos set Wednesday as a deadline to wrap up negotiations. But negotiators for the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia say substantial differences still exist and more time is needed to conclude the talks.

The FARC had cautioned that expectations for reaching a final deal by Wednesday were overly optimistic, but momentum had been building in recent weeks toward a bilateral ceasefire.

This week U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry paid a visit to the negotiating teams while in Cuba, telling both sides they can't afford to fail in bringing peace to the South American nation.

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