Ecuador, which currently holds UNASUR’s revolving presidency, on Monday turned down a proposal by Colombian rebel group the FARC to discuss the country’s ongoing conflict before the regional body.
The guerrillas had asked the Union of South American Nations to mediate between rebels and government to help find a political solution to end the violence that has been torturing Colombia since the FARC and other guerrilla movements declared war on the state in 1964.
Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon immediately rejected the FARC proposal, demanding that the guerrillas lay down their weapons before holding direct peace talks with the national government in Bogota.
“The Ecuadorean government and current president of UNASUR fully respect the criteria imposed by the Colombian government in relation to this communique by the FARC,” Patiño told press in Quito.
The FARC, designated as a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and Europe, claims it is looking for a political solution to the violent conflict that has killed tens of thousands of Colombians over the past 46 years and displaced millions.