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Cablegate: Goc Claims Some Progress with Farc, Eln

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DE RUEHBO #0227/01 0422338
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R 112338Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2751
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
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S E C R E T BOGOTA 000227

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NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2035/02/11
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER CO
SUBJECT: GOC CLAIMS SOME PROGRESS WITH FARC, ELN

REF: BOGOTA 13

CLASSIFIED BY: Brian Nichols, Deputy Chief of Mission; REASON:
1.4(B), (D)

1. (S/NF) Summary: Swedish intermediaries have reportedly arranged
for a meeting in Sweden between representatives of the Government
of Colombia (GOC) and representatives of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC). Separately, negotiations proceeded for
the humanitarian release of two military prisoners held by the
FARC. The GOC and other observers believe opposition Senator
Piedad Cordoba engineered delays in the release to maximize impact
before the March 14 congressional elections. The National
Liberation Army (ELN) also responded positively to a request for a
meeting, likely in Colombia, to discuss possible peace talks. End
Summary.

FARC Hints At Meeting in Sweden

-------------------------------

2. (S/NF) High Commissioner for Peace Frank Pearl told Polcouns
February 4 that the Swedish Ambassador had relayed a positive
response by FARC leadership to a GOC offer to meet (reftel). Pearl
said the information had been passed by an unidentified FARC member
living in Sweden via a former Swedish Ambassador to Colombia and
current head of the International Council of Swedish Industry
(NIR). Pearl said in the message the FARC had agreed in principle
to a meeting between two GOC representatives and two members of the
High Command ("Estado Mayor"), but not with higher-ranking FARC
Secretariat members. Pearl said he agreed to the meeting on the
condition that that FARC not appoint as one of its representatives
Southern Block Deputy Commander alias Fabian Ramirez, whom the GOC
considers a major narco-trafficker and criminal. Pearl said he had
discussed with the Government of Sweden its facilitation of the
meeting, including the transportation of the FARC representatives
to Sweden. Pearl presumed that the two representatives would be
among those FARC leaders residing in Venezuela, thus facilitating
their international travel. (Note: The current Swedish Ambassador
to Colombia did not mention these developments in a February 4
breakfast with the Ambassador.)

Humanitarian Release Delayed By Electoral Politics

--------------------------------------------- -----

3. (S/NF) Pearl confirmed rumors that the Government of Brazil had
agreed to facilitate the humanitarian release of Colombian soldiers
Pablo Moncayo (held by the FARC since December 1997) and Josue
Calvo (held since April 2009). The FARC also agreed to deliver the
remains of Colombian Army major Julian Ernesto Guevara. Pearl
discounted reports in December that the FARC had rejected Brazil in
favor of Argentina. He pointed out that the message had come from
former president and left-wing Liberal Party official Ernesto
Samper. Pearl theorized that Samper was working on behalf of
opposition senator Piedad Cordoba, who had been in contact with the
FARC over the releases. Catholic Church peace envoy XXXXXXXXXXXX
complained to us on February 1 that Cordoba had been
manipulating the release date to place it nearer to the March 14
congressional elections. Indeed, Cordoba told the press on
February 7 that she expected the releases to come at the end of
February. XXXXXXXXXXXX lamented that Gustavo Moncayo, hostage
Moncayo's father and a Polo Democratico candidate for the Senate,
appeared complicit in this plan. Pearl said the GOC plans to move
ahead regardless of dates, though International Commission for the
Red Cross country director Christophe Beney told us on February 8
that he fears the GOC will further delay the release so as not to
give Cordoba and Moncayo free campaign publicity. Pearl publicly
echoed complaints of FARC political manipulation in February 10
remarks to the press, but said the GOC would cooperate with a
release nonetheless.

ELN Also Accepts Meeting Offer

------------------------------

4. (S/NF) Pearl also reported that his offer for a meeting with the
ELN had been accepted. He had yet to confirm a date or location,
though he expected the meeting would take place in the Colombia.
He said he was going to Medellin to meet with jailed ELN member
XXXXXXXXXXXX to discuss details. As with the FARC, the
purpose of the meeting is to establish a line of communication that
could lead to a "roadmap" toward eventual peace talks. Pearl's
hope is to have roadmaps on the ELN and FARC ready for the next
administration when it takes office in August.
BROWNFIELD

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