RealNews

Colombia Says Contact Made With Rebels

On the eve of his second trip to the White House, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is for the first time making overtures to this country’s largest rebel group. Elected nearly a year ago on a hard-line platform to fight the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish initials as the FARC, Uribe revealed last week that his government had been in written contact with a faction of the 17,000-member group. Though peace negotiations still seem a distant possibility, some analysts believe there now may be a better chance for a humanitarian accord that would release kidnapping victims in exchange for jailed guerrillas. This is the first time that the Uribe administration has acknowledged contact with the rebel group, which the president pledged during his campaign to defeat through military force. A peace accord with the FARC was the failed goal of former President Andres Pastrana, and there have been no formal peace talks since the former president retook a demilitarized zone ceded to the FARC in February 2002. Full Story

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