Monday, August 27, 2012

Colombia's Santos says holding talks with FARC rebels

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's government is seeking peace with the country's biggest guerrilla group, the FARC, and could consider also holding talks with a second rebel movement, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday.

A Colombian intelligence source had earlier told Reuters the government would soon start talks that could lead to formal negotiations with the FARC. Success would secure Santos a place in history when so many previous presidents have failed.

"We have had exploratory conversations with the FARC to seek an end to the conflict," Santos said in a televised speech from the presidential palace. He added that government troops would continue operations even while talks continued.

In response to a Reuters interview with the head of the country's second-biggest rebel group, he said the National Liberation Army, known as the ELN, could also be involved in the peace talks.

Santos, at the mid-point of his four-year term, has previously said he would only consider talks with the FARC if he was certain the drug-funded group would negotiate in good faith.

(Reporting by Helen Murphy; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


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