Seven FARC guerrillas were killed and five others captured in fighting in central Colombia, officials said.

"To the extent that armed groups continue insisting on terrorism in Colombia, the security forces will continue to tirelessly take action against any organization that threatens the interests of Colombians," Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said.

President Juan Manuel Santos announced plans last week for "exploratory talks" between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for a peace dialogue.

Santos said in a Twitter posting on Tuesday morning that he would discuss the progress of the talks later in the day.

Pinzon has been saying for the past week that the security forces will continue to fight illegal armed groups that engage in "terrorist or criminal activities."

The seven FARC rebels were killed in fighting early Monday outside Puerto Concordia, a city in central Colombia, the defense minister said.

The FARC and the security forces have continued fighting despite the steps being taken toward a dialogue to end Colombia's 50-year-old armed conflict.

The dialogue is expected to start in the next few weeks in Norway, which is serving as a guarantor of the peace process along with Cuba.

The armed forces engaged the FARC's elite Teofilo Forero mobile column in combat over the weekend in the southern province of Caqueta, Pinzon said.

Three rebels were killed and two others captured in the fighting, while three other FARC members surrendered in other parts of Colombia, the defense minister said.

The FARC, Colombia's oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, was founded in 1964 and operates across a large swath of this Andean nation.

The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.

The FARC is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC's main means of financing its operations. EFE