Colombian bishop explains Church’s proposal for dialogue with rebel groups

.- In an interview with the Colombian daily El Tiempo, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro of Tunja, explained the Church’s proposal for a pre-dialogue with the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) that would clarify certain aspects of the humanitarian accord and a possible cease fire. Archbishop Castro said the proposal was not “backed by any treaty” and that it consists of “an invitation to the FARC and the ELN, and not to the government, to accept entering into talks with the government concerning one point: a cease fire.”

The need for a pre-dialogue

The proposal of a pre-dialogue was made by the Church in Colombia two weeks ago and until now has been met with no response from either group.  According to the Archbishop of Tunja, “The only thing that is clear is that the pre-dialogue has not been immediately rejected—which is positive because that means they are considering it, even if that means they end up rejecting it.  So this by itself is progress,” he said.

On the other hand, Archbishop Castro emphasized that the rebel groups are the ones who must make “ a change of direction” and not the government, as they are the ones “who are doing wrong. Society rejects them, the international community does not accept them and they have lost enormous opportunities to recover their image.  And if they make the decision to accept a cease fire, they will open the doors to being heard positively.”


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