You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Colombia holds first peace talks with rebels in decade

Norway hosts first round, Cuba will host second

HURDAL, Norway — Colombia’s first peace talks in a decade were inaugurated half a world away on Thursday with a demonstration of just how differently the two sides view the nearly half-century-old conflict.

The Oslo talks were brief, symbolic, largely perfunctory, and held at a secret venue. They lasted seven hours and were followed by word that substantive talks will begin Nov. 15 in ­Havana, Cuba, and will first tackle ‘‘comprehensive agrarian development.’’

Continue reading below

The government’s lead negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, sought to set a businesslike, cordial tone in brief remarks at a joint news conference in Oslo. He said the government seeks ‘‘mutual dignified treatment’’ in the talks and doesn’t expect the sides to see eye-to-eye ideologically.

His counterpart, Ivan Marquez, said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, had come to Oslo ‘‘with an olive branch.’’

Then he began railing against Colombia’s ‘‘corrupt oligarchy,’’ its alleged masters in Washington, ‘‘state-sponsored terrorism,’’ and the ‘‘vampires’’ of transnational oil and mining that the rebels say are ravaging the nation.

‘‘We want to denounce the crime of capitalism and neoliberalism,’’ Marquez said during a 35-minute discourse that denounced oil and coal companies and individual Colombian politicians by name, including a cousin of President Juan Manuel Santos and a relative of one of the government negotiators.

Members of the government team, separated from the FARC negotiators by Norwegian and Cuban diplomats who have acted as facilitators, looked bored and slightly annoyed.

Land ownership issues are at the heart of Colombia’s complex conflict, which is fueled by cocaine trafficking and aggravated by far-right militias that have colluded with a military widely questioned for human right abuses. Colombia’s most fertile land has been largely concentrated in the hands of cattle ranchers and drug traffickers.

President Santos has said he expects the talks to last months, not years, as did the failed 1999-2002 talks.

The Norway talks focused chiefly on logistics, and de la Calle said his delegation would return to Colombia on Friday after just two days in Norway.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.