Bishops’ Conference headquarters in Colombia site of negotiations between government and Marxist rebels

.- The headquarters of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia has become the theater for negotiations between government leaders and the spokesman for the National Liberation Army (NLA), the second largest rebel group in the country.

The NLA spokesman, Francisco Galan, was received by Bishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, president of the Conference, and Father Dario Echeverri, General Secretary of the National Reconciliation Commission.

Galan will attend meetings through Thursday of this week in preparation for a new round of negotiations with the government which are scheduled to take place in February in Havana, Cuba.

On Monday Galan met with the ambassadors of Switzerland, Spain and Norway, who are participating in the dialogue between the Colombian government and the NLA, as well as with other Colombian officials.

On Tuesday the NLA spokesman met with several bishops, including Bishop Jaime Prieto Amaya of Barrancabermeja, who called the meetings “important” for setting “a definitive agenda for the meetings in Cuba in February.”

Bishop Amaya said the agenda for the negotiations with the NLA should “be very creative and should address the humanitarian crisis, kidnappings, land mines, as well as other issues that would bring the government and the NLA closer together.” He expressed his hopes the agenda would bring about a definitive peace and would lead to “greater trust on all sides.”


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