Colombia agrees to let Church mediate

BOGOTA, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Colombia has agreed to allow the Roman Catholic Church to play a mediator's role in talks between the government and the country's left-wing rebels.

President Alvaro Uribe gave the greenlight to Church officials to help negotiate a cease-fire with rebel groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the country's largest.


"The country accepts the church's help with an initial dialogue toward a cease-fire," El Tiempo reported Uribe said.

Since assuming office in 2002, Uribe has maintained there would be no talks until FARC and other rebels laid down their arms. However, in recent weeks, the hardline leader who cracked down on rebels has appeared to acquiesce hoping to jumpstart a peace proposal.

Colombia has been as war with the rebels for 41 years.

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