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Colombian bishop hopeful for success of talks between Chavez and rebels

.- The secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Fabian Marulanda, said this week he is hopeful talks initiated by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with the Colombian rebel group know as the FARC, will lead to the release of the hostages being held by the group, saying that despite Chavez’s ulterior motives, the interests of Colombians is what matters and not “who gets the credit.”

“We are aware of President Chavez’s thirst for attention and if this works out for him, for us it will be good too.  We don’t care who gets the credit in the long run for the humanitarian accord.  I hope President Chavez and mediator Dr. Piedad (Cordoba) are able to get something from the FARC. The country would be very pleased at whatever they could do for the humanitarian accord,” the bishop told Caracol Radio.  He acknowledged that Colombians are somewhat skeptical at the prospect of a positive outcome.  “The FARC has shown us many, many signs of their unwillingness to move forward, to allow the release of the kidnapped,” he said, adding that at the same time there must always be room left for hope.

“Knowing the way the FARC acts, there is no other choice but to try to negotiate with them and find any way to release the kidnapped,” Bishop Marulanda said.  He noted that Colombians struggle to maintain their hopes for a resolution and that they have become “hardened” and “pessimistic” in the face of so many failed efforts throughout the years. 

Hugo Chavez accepted a request by Colombian president Alvaro Uribe to initiate talks with the FARC.

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