President Juan Manuel Santos hopes that the left-wing guerrilla organization FARC can follow the example of Basque separatist group ETA, which recently announced the end of its armed campaign against the Spanish state.
“I welcome the announcement from ETA. I hope that the FARC follow the example,” Santos tweeted.
Basque Homeland and Freedom, or ETA, announced Thursday “the definite cessation of its military activity” as well as their desire for “direct dialogue.”
ETA has been engaged in a bloody conflict for the Basque separatist movement for more than 50 years, about five years longer than the FARC has been active. ETA has been blamed for the murder of more than 800 people in the last four decades. The European Union and the United States consider ETA a terrorist organization.
Santos has maintained the government’s position that the FARC need to cease terrorist activities and release all hostages before peace talks can begin.
One day after ETA’s announcement, FARC forces attacked an Army patrol in southwest Colombia, killing at least six soldiers.