Church in Colombia laments no new peace initiatives by rebels

.- The Vice President of the Colombian Bishops Conference, Bishop Luis Augusto Castro, expressed disappointment this week that the response of the Marxist rebel group FARC does not contain any new proposals that would facilitate a peace solution to the country’s civil conflict.

“There is nothing new in the response of the guerilla to the national government concerning direct negotiations for a humanitarian accord,” the Archbishop told reporters.

Nevertheless he emphasized the positive aspects of the FARC statement, saying at least “there has not been any regression” because “the guerrilla’s position continues to be the same as one as last year and as of a few months ago.”

Archbishop Castro recalled that the guerilla seeks a prisoner exchange “package for package,” as well as “a face-to-face dialogue” with a government representative in “some area of the country.”  The government has rejected these conditions, saying they would put incarcerated FARC rebels on the same level as soldiers, police officers and citizens kidnapped by the guerillas.

The Archbishop said the FARC’s agreement to negotiate with commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo was a positive development, since “that was something that they previously would not consider.”

Lastly he warned that only through dialogue “will positions be positively altered in order to facilitate a coming together of both parties.”


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