Colombian Catholic bishops requested face-to-face talks with the FARC to negotiate the release of 23 political prisoners. They also hope to lay the foundations for an eventual peace process through dialogue with the guerrilla organization.
Leaders of the Colombian Catholic church made the request during the bishops’ general assembly, which began Monday in Bogota.
The FARC authorized the Church to be a mediator in the release of hostage Pablo Emilio Moncayo.
Tunja Archbishop Luis Augusto
Castro told the general assembly that this was a sign of the FARC’s trust in the church, El Tiempo reported Monday.
“We want to speak to them face-to-face, personally and not from the sidelines,” said Castro.
Bogota Archbishop Pedro Rubiano was in agreement. “It would be very interesting to be able to talk with them. What we are asking them for is a more serious collaboration, that they handover the hostages, and that we receive them,” said Rubiano.
The head of the Colombian Catholic Church monseigneur Ruben Salazar said that the church is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a path to reconciliation between the government and the FARC.
Salazar added that while the FARC authorized church participation in the handover of Moncayo and other hostages, the religious organization has received no further overtures in regards to the negotiation process.