Catholic leaders meet with FARC to secure release of hostages

.- Two delegations of the Catholic Church met with a representative of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) to negotiate a humanitarian agreement that would allow for the release of various individuals kidnapped by the guerrilla movement.

According to local press reports, the meeting took place in an undisclosed location and included the Vice-President of the Colombia’s Bishops Conference, Bishop Luis Augusto Castro, Fr. Darío Echeverri, and Raúl Reyes, spokesman for the FARC.

The government of President Alvaro Uribe and the FARC have been locked in disagreement over the conditions of an agreement. The FARC has only accepted negotiations through Church mediators.

The guerrilla movement proposes the release of 60 kidnapped politicians and military personnel in exchange for the release from prison of hundreds of rebels and the demilitarization of a southern area of the country.

President Uribe wants the guerrillas to release all the hostages—including those kidnapped for economic reasons, and that those rebels freed by the government to agree not to break the law again, and he rejects any demilitarization of south.

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