HAVANA – A high-ranking member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia on Thursday revealed the names of the rebel group's five main negotiators for peace talks with the government.
The lead negotiators will be Ivan Marquez, Ricardo Tellez, Andres Paris, Marco Leon Calarca and Simon Trinidad — all veteran leaders of the 48-year insurgency. Trinidad is the most controversial of the figures because he is serving a 60-year prison term in the U.S, and it appears unlikely he will be allowed to take part in the negotiations, at least in person.
The FARC leader spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the makeup of the peace delegation ahead of a formal announcement.
He said Trinidad's inclusion was meant to show the Colombian government how important his voice and influence will be on the talks.
A rebel leader said previously that the talks, which get under way in Norway next month, would go on whether Trinidad is released or not. Talks to try to end one of Latin America's longest conflicts were announced last week.
In addition to the five principal negotiators, the FARC leader said the group will send five other representatives to Norway.
The rebel leader gave the AP four of those names: Jesus Santrich, Hermes Aguilar, Bernardo Salcedo and Ruben Zamora.
Colombia's government and the FARC have been holding preliminary talks in Cuba for six months, and signed an accord on Aug. 27 that cleared the way for formal peace talks to be held in Norway and Cuba. The two countries are listed as guarantors of the peace process, while Venezuela and Chile are observers.
Several past efforts to end the conflict have failed.
The two sides have agreed that the talks will focus on six main points, including agrarian reform, drug trafficking, returning stolen land, reducing poverty and compensating victims.
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