The Colombian government announced early this week it is holding preliminary discussions with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to enter formal negotiations to end the conflict . . . both sides have named negotiators and could start talks in early October in either Norway or Cuba . . . Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been acting as the facilitator for the talks . . . the two sides have held unsuccessful talks in the past, but changing realities raise prospects for an accord . . . the FARC announced an end to kidnapping for ransom earlier this year, which was one of the government's requirement for starting talks and rebel leaders consistently say publicly they favor peace negotiations . . . rebels are likely to require amnesty and protection from extradition to the United States, and the government will demand an end to not only fighting but also other criminal activities such as drug trafficking by the FARC . . . some rebels are likely to oppose peace, however, and small groups may continue to fight even if the main leadership signs a peace treaty.