France on Tuesday called upon Colombian rebel group FARC to cease “terrorist actions,” liberate hostages and open dialogue with the government, after the death of supreme leader Alfonso Cano on Friday.
The French foreign minister, Alain Juppe, made the announcement in a press release in which he called upon the armed groups of Colombia to bring an end to the violence that has plagued the country for decades.
“The guerrillas of the FARC and the ELN should recognize that the armed struggle is only leading them to a dead end and that they should liberate all the hostages, end all terrorist actions– particularly the use of landmines– renounce the recruitment of children and establish the path to peace talks with the Colombian government,” said the foreign minister on behalf of the government of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The French call to demobilize came at the same day that Colombia’s defense minister reiterated the government’s call on rebels to surrender.
The death of the supreme FARC leader is considered the biggest blow ever dealt to the leftist guerrilla group.
The FARC have been fighting the Colombian state since they were founded in 1964. Once, in control of nearly one third of Colombia’s territory, the rebels have now been pushed back to the periphery of the country where they have increased the amount of deadly hit-and-run attacks on government forces.