– The government and rebels are scheduled to sit down for peace talks next month
– "The conditions are right" for negotiated end to conflict, Juan Manuel Santos says
– The president stresses there will be no cease-fire while the two are in talks
– "Making war is much easier than making peace," says Santos
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that FARC guerillas must be permitted to participate in the political process, in an interivew with CNN's Christiane Amanpour that aired Friday.
Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, are scheduled meet with representatives of the government for peace talks in Oslo, Norway, next month.
The two sides have been at war since the 1960s, making the FARC Latin America's oldest insurgency.
"You can't ask the FARC to simply kneel down, surrender and give us the arms. They will not do that, so there has to be some kind of way out, and this way out has to be you can be able to participate in the political arena. This is a way any conflict is settled, not only the Colombian conflict," Santos said in New York. FULL POST
By Mick Krever, CNN
(CNN) - Manaf Tlass was once one of Bashar al-Assad's closest friends.
"He is humble. He loves people," Tlass said when describing the Syrian leader. "But he has changed. The crisis has changed him."
Before he defected this July, Tlass was the very image of an Assad regime insider.
His father is a former defense minister.
Manaf Tlass was a brigadier general in Syria's Republican Guard. And, of course, he was a close friend of Assad's. FULL POST
By Samuel Burke & Mick Krever
After a decade of war in Afghanistan, the United States is getting ready to hand off the country's security to the Afghan army.
But there are growing concerns that the local army isn't yet prepared to hold the country together.
Those fears have been heightened since NATO halted most joint missions with the Afghans in response to insider attacks. FULL POST