Kofi Annan in Cuba to boost Colombia-FARC peace talks

Handout picture released by the Colombian presidential press office shows President Juan Manuel Santos (L) meeting with former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in Bogota, on February 23, 2015 (AFP Photo/Cesar Carrion) (Presidencia/AFP)

Havana (AFP) - Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan arrived in Cuba on Thursday to prod negotiators from the Colombian government and leftist FARC guerrillas to clinch a dragging peace agreement.

The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner is set to meet both delegations, after declaring in Colombia that any peace agreement must meet the standards of the international community.

"Transitional justice is an issue of concern and controversy in Colombia," Annan said Wednesday, referring to reparations for tens of thousands of victims and accountability for crimes.

"However, I would like to emphasize that justice must fit the Colombian context -- while respecting international minimum standards. No one shoe fits all."

Sources from both delegations told AFP that the new US special envoy for the Colombian peace process, Bernie Aronson, would travel to Cuba in the coming days to speak separately with each side.

Cuba has been hosting the talks since November 2012.

"He is not a guarantor of the peace process, he is not coming to mediate. He is coming to follow up on the issues. He will not be part of negotiations at the table," one of the sources said.

Aronson will not attend closed-door negotiating sessions, unlike diplomats from so-called "guarantor" countries -- Cuba and Norway -- or "escort" countries -- Chile and Venezuela.

Annan's meetings with the government and FARC delegations will take place at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and not at the Convention Palace, the usual venue for the talks.

Annan, who led the United Nations from 1997 to 2006, is expected to speak to the media on Friday about the visit.

Colombia's civil conflict, the oldest in the region, has claimed more than 220,000 lives over the past half century and left 5.5 million people displaced.