Colombia, Segunda Marquetalia armed group will begin peace talks this month

By Luis Jaime Acosta

BOGOTA (Reuters) -Colombia's government and the Segunda Marquetalia armed group said in a joint document on Wednesday they will begin peace talks on June 24 in Caracas, Venezuela.

Segunda Marquetalia is a dissident faction of the now-demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Its leaders initially agreed to a 2016 peace deal that saw the FARC demobilize, but returned to arms citing unfulfilled promises in 2019.

The government and Segunda Marquetalia agreed to start a peace process in February, part of efforts by leftist President Gustavo Petro to end six decades of armed conflict through peace deals with armed groups.

Colombia's war has left more than 450,000 people dead.

"The first cycle of negotiations will take place between June 25 and 29 to agree the specific topics and the negotiation protocols," the document, signed by negotiators from both sides, said.

Basic points will include conflict de-escalation, conflict victims and how nay accord could be implemented, it added.

One of the signatories is Ivan Marquez, formerly a major FARC leader who helped spearhead the creation of the Segunda Marquetalia.

Though Marquez was reportedly killed last year in Venezuela, where he has been thought to have been living for several years, the Colombian government later confirmed that a recent video showing him was genuine.

Segunda Marquetalia has some 1,751 members, according to security sources, including 1,162 combatants.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime AcostaWriting by Julia Symmes Cobb)