Colombia's government is seeking peace with the country's biggest guerrilla group, the FARC, and could consider also holding talks with a second rebel movement, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday.
A Colombian intelligence source had earlier told Reuters the government would soon start talks that could lead to formal negotiations with the FARC. Success would secure Santos a place in history when so many previous presidents have failed.
"We have had exploratory conversations with the FARC to seek an end to the conflict," Santos said in a televised speech from the presidential palace. He added that government troops would continue operations even while talks continued.
In response to a Reuters interview with the head of the country's second-biggest rebel group, he said the National Liberation Army, known as the ELN, could also be involved in the peace talks.
Santos, at the mid-point of his four-year term, has previously said he would only consider talks with the FARC if he was certain the drug-funded group would negotiate in good faith.