Colombian minister seeking backing here for negotiations

Casa Presdiencial photo
President Laura Chinchilla converses with María Ángela Holguín, the Colombian foreign minister.

The foreign minister of Colombia visited Costa Rica Wednesday to seek support for the country’s efforts to negotiate peace with Marxist revolutionaries. The country has been at war for more than 40 years.

The minister is María Ángela Holguín. She met with President Laura Chinchilla Miranda. The president said that the country always has promoted peace and that Costa Rica would support the government of Colombia and the people of Colombia. She said she hoped for a satisfactory solution for a friendly people who deserve it, according to Casa Presidencial.

Minister Holguín is involved in a series of meetings to talk first-hand with government officials in Central America to ensure support for the Colombian government’s position.

Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, announced the peace talks with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, better known as FARC, during a nationally televised address Monday. News outlets reported earlier Monday that the the two sides had agreed to begin holding talks in Oslo, Norway, in October.

Santos says the negotiations must lead to a peace deal and that military operations will continue during the talks. He also mentioned that Colombia’s second-biggest rebel group, the Ejército de Liberación Nacional, or ELN, has expressed a desire to participate in the negotiations.

FARC has yet to react to the Santos announcement.

The last negotiations between the government and FARC collapsed in 2002, as the guerillas increased their ranks and turned to drug trafficking.

FARC has engaged in numerous attacks on security forces and political kidnappings in its battle against the government, which began in 1964.

The group has suffered major defeats since the start of a U.S.-backed military effort in 2000. It has recently engaged in a number of hit-and-run attacks against oil and coal mining facilities. Six people were killed in a FARC car bombing in a rural area Sunday.

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