Colombian bishops call for understanding and express hope in humanitarian deal

.- The secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Fabian Marulanda, called on Colombians this week to show understanding in response to a surprising message from President Alvaro Uribe Velez that he will call off attempts to reach an humanitarian agreement with the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) to seek out the release of the kidnapped through military operations.

Bishop Marulanda acknowledged that the president’s message caught the country off guard, but he said Colombians should understand that Uribe “softened his rhetoric and created an atmosphere favorable to a humanitarian accord,” but he was discouraged by “a terrorist attack.”

Last Thursday, the FARC set off a car bomb in one of the parking lots of a military university in Bogota.  The blast left more than 20 injured and caused severe damage to the building. 

Bishop Marulanda decried the ongoing violence of recent years, with country “taking one step forward today, and one step backwards tomorrow.”  The current situation, he said, constitutes “a grave challenge for the Army” should convince the FARC of the need to return to talks and work for a humanitarian accord.

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