Representatives from FARC, Colombia’s largest guerrilla faction, released a statement of thanks and greetings to Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is currently in Cuba on a scheduled visit. Peace talks between the FARC and Colombia’s government have been taking place in the Cuban capital of Havana since 2012.
In his homily on Sunday from Revolution Square in Havana, Pope Francis declared that there “cannot be another failure in the path of peace and reconciliation”, saying that he has “faith in the [reconciliation of] Colombia after a sad six decades of armed conflict.”
In response, the FARC thanked the pope for his expressed support of the peace talks and expressed greetings on behalf of the thousands of guerrillas in the group.
“From the mountains of Colombia, we bring to the pope, brother of the poor, missionary of peace and harmony, the pope who loves, greetings from thousands of guerrillas and [specifically] the guerrillas of the FARC,” the rebels said in a communique.
The FARC hopes that the statements made by the pope on the ongoing peace process will accelerate “agreements of understanding for issues on the negotiating table such as [bilateral] ceasefire, the surrender of weapons and the the transformation of the FARC into a legal political movement.”
The group continued, declaring that the future of any reconciliation hinges on a “basis of coexistence and the establishment of non-violence and solidarity.”
Finally, the FARC ended with a plea to the Argentine pope to “continue spreading the good news of peace in Colombia and help to create a national day of repentance in which all actors in the conflict – combatants and non-combatants – offer truth, recognize responsibilities and commit [themselves] to a life without violence.”
The rebels had hoped to meet with Pope Francis before the latter traveled to the United States, but were turned down by the Vatican.