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Colombia rejects Ortega mediation with FARC offer

Latest update : 2008-07-18

Colombian authorities have refused to authorise Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to talk with FARC rebels after he accepted the rebels' offer to meet with them.

The Colombian government refused Thursday to authorize Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to talk with the FARC guerrilla group after the leftist leader accepted a rebel invitation to meet with them.
The administration of President Alvaro Uribe issued an official protest saying it would not give Ortega permission to hold talks with the rebels, who have sought to topple the government for four decades.
"The Colombian government does not authorize or endorse any process that Mr. Ortega expects to have in connection with a terrorist organization, in this case the FARC," the official note said.
In a letter dated June 26 and shown on Venezuelan television on Monday, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rejected any talks with the Uribe government and offered to speak with Ortega or a delegate about "these topics of war and peace."
Ortega said late Wednesday he was willing to speak with the FARC, which the United States and European Union consider a terrorist group.
"We respond to our brothers in the FARC that yes, we are prepared to talk, we are prepared to dialogue, to contribute to the peace (process) in Colombia," Ortega said.
The former Sandinista rebel leader underscored his belief that Colombia is the key to instability in Latin America, and that the conflict cannot be settled on the battlefield.
"It is a good time to work for peace," he stressed, noting that his country had been through the process of negotiating with a rebel force, which his Sandinistas were in the 1980s, and a transition from an insurgency to a political party.

Date created : 2008-07-18