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Colombia's FARC continues to push peace process
Published in Bikya Masr on 29 - 09 - 2012

SANTIAGO, Chile: Two leading Colombian rebel groups on Thursday released a joint statement reiterating their commitment to the upcoming peace talks with the central government.
The statement, dated “September” and addressed somewhere in “mountains of Colombia,” was signed by top commanders of Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).
The rebels indicated they had met to discuss strategies for peace talks which kick off on October 8 in Oslo, Norway and later in Havana, Cuba.
“Our unyielding determination is to continue to seek peace for Colombia,” said the statement.
They claimed, meanwhile, that greater military spending or ultimatums from the government would not bring them to “surrender or demobilize.”
Talks were acceptable only if Colombia's future went without “selfish interests of the oligarchy,” but with “much-needed political and social change with full participation of the people,” said the rebel statement.
FARC, the largest rebel group in Colombia rising in the 1960s, is believed to have over 8,000 members.
The ELN, which has some 2,000 members, has occasionally expressed its interest in joining the peace talks, but no official participation agreement has yet been confirmed.
Government officials in Bogota told that they hoped the statement will be a prelude to “fruitful and beneficial talks in Oslo and help to bring the end to violence.”
A five-point agenda to be negotiated before the rebels' disarmament includes agricultural development and land reform, and reparations for victims of the fighting and their families.

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