.- The president of the Bishops' Conference of Colombia, Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, said this week the Church in that country has had no contact with the FARC since the death of Raul Reyes, but that the bishops hope that peace and the release of the hostages can be obtained once dialogue is restarted.
Speaking with Caracol Radio, Archbishop Castro said that after the death of Reyes, "It has not been possible to establish contact for very objective and obvious reasons. We must continue working with persistence and patience but also with the hope of scheduling a meeting and opening dialogue not only for the release of the hostages but also to encourage them to return to civility through dialogue."
"We must continue working, knowing that there are difficulties, but the desire of everyone is that the release of the hostages be achieved as soon as possible," he added.
The archbishop said he does not expect an immediate change in conduct from the new FARC leadership, but hopes that change will come soon. "These people, who have studied at universities, should understand that the only reasonable solution must come through negotiation. I hope there are promises on both sides to prepare the way," he said.