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Colombian bishop reminds rebels that agreements must be “totally humanitarian”

.- The President of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro of Tunja, said this week he has not received any response from the Marxist rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) regarding the Church’s proposal to mediate negotiations with the group. Despite having received no response, the archbishop said he was optimistic.  “It’s a good sign because when they see a proposal that is illogical and makes no sense, they respond immediately with a ‘no’ and so this means that they could be considering the proposal and will give a response in due time.”

Regarding the possibility of holding pre-negotiations outside of Colombia, Archbishop Castro added, “It’s not a bad idea to insist on discussions in another country in order to avoid the issue of location and to find a way to establish that humanitarian exchange.”

Likewise, the archbishop called on FARC to “de-politicize” the possible negotiations on the humanitarian agreement (which would allow for the release of hostages), reminding them that the agreement “does not nor should not have anything to do with politics.  The humanitarian agreement is independent of any political event taking place as its purpose is to simply save lives and nothing else.”

Archbishop Castro said that while it awaits a response from the FARC, the Church in Colombia would continue “to pray that they will take into consideration the proposal for peace in the country.”

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