In a press release published Tuesday by Anncol, Colombian guerrilla organization FARC revealed that peace commissioner Frank Pearl made the group a secret offer in March to engage in peace talks with the Colombian government, and that the rebel group rejects the invitation.
The FARC refer to a letter they say Pearl sent to the rebels on March 5, proposing “direct, secret conversations with an open agenda in a foreign country.”
The guerrilla organizations’s secretariat said they had been interested in talks but “regretted” that Pearl’s letter “had arrived only a short four months before the change of government.”
Colombia is holding elections in May, and current President Alvaro Uribe will leave office in August.
The FARC added that a short time after receiving the proposal, they had heard Uribe “categorically affirm that his government will not negotiate with the FARC” despite the FARC’s “unilateral gestures of goodwill” in the release of hostages Pablo Emilio Moncayo and Josue Daniel Calvo.
The FARC reaffirmed their willingness to hold a peace dialogue, but said they wanted to engage in one in Colombia, in full view of the Colombian people.
Following Moncayo and Calvo’s release, the FARC announced that they would not engage in anymore unilateral releases. From now on they will only participate in a “humanitarian exchange” of FARC hostages for guerrillas incarcerated in Colombia and the U.S.