.- The Archbishop of Bogota, Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, reiterated this week the Church’s willingness to mediate in negotiations with the rebel group FARC, but stressed that the group must accept mediation, not be forced into it.
Colombian media reported that the cardinal said, “We have always been willing, but obviously this depends also on the FARC. If the guerrillas really want us to help, we will help.”
He rejected claims that the Church wants the FARC to be forced to accept the mediation, and for this reason he said the group needed to “to say if it does or doesn’t want us to participate” in the release of the hostages.
“I also call on the guerrillas to understand that the country is crying out precisely for them to once and for all take a step forward,” he added.
The cardinal’s comments came after the FARC called the efforts of the Red Cross and the Church in the mission to free a Colombian soldier kidnapped in 1997 insufficient.