The Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Fabian Marulanda of Florencia, expressed regret Wednesday at the decision by the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) to reject the bishops’ proposal for a pre-dialogue with the government in order to iron out differences over a humanitarian agreement that would lead to the release of many hostages.
The proposal, which was endorsed by President Alvaro Uribe, was rejected in a statement released by the FARC on the internet. The rebel group claimed Uribe’s acceptance of the plan was just a way for him to put another obstacle in the path towards an agreement. The FARC expressed thanks to “the Church and to the president of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference in particular, Archbishop Augusto Castro, for their enormous effort for the release of all prisoners of war,” adding that, “we wish to encourage them to redouble their efforts in that sacred mission.”
“They vouch for the good intentions of the Church,” Bishop Marulanda said, “but in the end they reject the proposal with the excuse that, having been endorsed by the president, they consider it an obstacle to progress on the path to peace.”