Rebels Ask Unasur to Help Resolve Conflict With New Colombia Government

Colombia’s biggest guerrilla group wants the Union of South American Nations to mediate in its half-century armed conflict with the government, the rebel leadership said in a letter posted on the Anncol news agency website.

Leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, wrote that it wants to find a “political resolution to the conflict” with the new government that took office this month, according to the letter published on Anncol, a news agency sympathetic to the drug-funded group.

“When you deem it opportune, we are ready to explain during a UNASUR assembly our vision of the Colombian conflict,” the letter dated August from the FARC’s Secretariat said.

This is the second public statement from the FARC leadership since President Juan Manuel Santos was elected June 20. Rebel leader Alfonso Cano on July 30 released a video inviting the government to talk.

During his inauguration address, Santos demanded the FARC free all its kidnapping victims and stop recruiting children to join its insurgency. He said he would fight the group without a “truce” even as the “door to dialogue is not locked with a key.”

UNASUR is a group of 12 South American nations set up with Brazil’s leadership in 2008 to foster regional security and economic integration.

The FARC, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union, was founded in 1964 as a rural, Marxist insurgency.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helen Murphy in Bogota at Hmurphy1@bloomberg.net

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