Colombia Rebels Acknowledge Harm Done To Civilians

HAVANA – The FARC guerrilla group acknowledged here Thursday that it has caused harm to civilians even though they have never been a “primary or secondary” target of its operations, and it reiterated that it will assume its share of responsibility for rights violations during Colombia’s decades-long armed conflict.

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France and Germany Call on Colombia to Expedite Peace Talks with ELN

The Colombian government is currently engaged in peace negotiations with the FARC, but a peace deal for the country would be incomplete without including the ELN, says Germany.

Both the French and German ambassadors on Monday called on Colombia to hasten peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's second largest guerrilla group.

The Colombian government and the ELN had been holding exploratory peace talks since January, and in June agreed on a loose agenda to follow for formal negotiations, which would take place in Ecuador. The major points of the agenda include the issue of victims rights and compensation, and participation of civil society.   

However, the talks have yet to begin, and since the agreement in June – five days before the presidential elections that saw Juan Manual Santos re-elected – it appears that no progress has been made.   

The two countries made their appeal as the Colombian government is currently engaged in peace talks with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in Cuba, which has been ongoing since November of 2012 and has already reached several major landmark agreements. The long process has also been considered one of the more successful talks the two sides have been engaged in.  

German Ambassador Gunter Kniess said, however, that a peace process for the country without a peace deal with the ELN would be incomplete, and leaves the country vulnerable of falling back into conflict regardless of weather peace deal is signed in Havana.       

“All armed groups, all guerrilla groups need to be involved. If not there is the risk of an incomplete peace,” the ambassador told Blu Radio. 

French Ambassador, Jean-Marc Laforet, supported the Kniess' view on the peace process, said Blu Radio.  

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Colombia Captures Top Guerrilla Recruiter

BOGOTA – Colombian police captured a leftist FARC guerrilla reputed to have recruited large numbers of minors to serve in the rebel ranks, authorities said Thursday.

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