Juan Manuel Santos has announced on Colombia's national television that his government has opened exploratory talks with the country's main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

He revealed few details but there are reports that formal peace negotiations could commence in Oslo, Norway, in October.

On Monday Santos said: "Exploratory conversations have been held with the FARC to find an end to the conflict. I want to make very clear to Colombians that the approaches that have been carried out and the ones that will happen in the future will be carried out within the framework based on these principles: We are going to learn from the mistakes made in the past so that they are not repeated. Second, any process must lead to the end of the conflict, not making it longer. Third, operations and military presence will be maintained across the entire national territory."


Inside Story Americas asks: Are the talks with the FARC likely to lead to peace? What will it take to end a conflict that has lasted nearly 50 years?

Joining presenter Shihab Rattansi for the discussion are guests: Jorge Restrepo, the director of the Conflict Analysis Research Center; Jim Jones, who has negotiated in person with several top FARC commanders; and Cynthia Arnson, the director of the Latin America Programme at the Woodrow Wilson Center. 

"I'm not at all surprised that President Santos is making this move at this point ... he had to make sure that there was enough of a willingness and a seriousness on the part of the guerillas to be able to risk this. I would doubt that he would have initiated without having some clear sense ...." -Arnson

To watch the interview go here