A decade after the last attempt to end Latin America's longest-running insurgency failed, the negotiators led by former Vice President Humberto de la Calle are to travel to Norway next month to meet the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The negotiations will then move to Cuba.
"It's a team with ample experience and each member wants things to move ahead in a serious, dignified, realistic and effective way," Santos said at an address in the presidential palace, flanked by some of the negotiators.
Members of the negotiating team include a former police chief, an industrialist, a former military head, the president's chief security adviser and a former environment minister.
Half-way into his four-year term, Santos, a U.S.- and British-trained economist, is staking his reputation on the talks. He knows they will be thorny given past failures like the 1999-2002 process when the rebels stonewalled, threw up tough demands and used the time to regroup.
Santos is betting the FARC will avoid imposing tricky demands this time and bring an end to a war that has killed tens of thousands since starting in 1964.
"The difference with these peace talks and the last is that there seems to be real desire, willingness from both sides," Ivan Cepeda, an opposition lawmaker whose father was killed by a paramilitaries in 1994, told Reuters. "That wasn't the case before…."
"This is the best chance at peace in a generation, but it's a Herculean task, there's no doubt," said Eric Farnsworth of Washington-based think tank Council of the Americas….