BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Tuesday a preliminary accord with Colombia's main leftist rebel group to launch peace talks to end a stubborn, century-old conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
In a nationally televised speech, Santos called the agreement a roadmap to "a definitive peace" and said it was reached after six months of direct talks in Cuba with that country's government and Norway serving as brokers.
The agreement does not include a cease-fire. Nor does it grant a safe haven to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, as occurred in the last peace talks, which lasted three years and ended disastrously in 2002.
The talks to end the Western Hemisphere's longest-running conflict will begin in the first half of October in Oslo, Norway, and continue in Havana, said Santos.
He set a hopeful tone, saying key topics would be agrarian reform, returning stolen land, reducing poverty and compensating victims.
But he was also firm about what he called the government's insistence on not ceding an inch of territory.
"If there are not advances, we simply won't continue," he said, adding that "military operations will continue with the same or stepped up intensity."
FARC leaders were expected to speak later Tuesday in a news conference Cuba's government scheduled in Havana.
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The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is charged with murder in the shooting death Wednesday of a woman at a North Austin auto repair shop, police said Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
As the Austin area prepares itself for an impending winter storm on Friday, Dec. 6, many schools have already announced delays.
With freezing temperatures pushing through the region, heating systems will likely be working overtime, which can bring rising energy bills.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.