FARC seeks Pope Francis′ help in Colombia peace bid | News | DW | 18.04.2016
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FARC seeks Pope Francis' help in Colombia peace bid

The guerilla group's commander-in-chief has accused paramilitary groups of undermining a peace process. The FARC leader called for a divine intervention to ensure peace would prevail in the predominantly Catholic nation.

FARC Commander-in-Chief Timoleon Jimenez on Sunday published an open letter to Argentine Pope Francis calling for assistance in an on-going peace process to resolve a decades-long conflict in Colombia.

Jimenez acknowledged the pontiff's efforts in negotiating politically-charged affairs, "travelling to one and another place on the planet with your message of love." The FARC leader asked Francis to "deploy a corresponding task" in the South American nation.

"Paramilitary organizations are untying a criminal offensive in our country, aimed at demoralizing the friends of peace, summoning them by force of arms to act against the process, able to intimidate several regions of the country," Jimenez said.

"Their nefarious action coincides with the conspiracy undertaken by political sectors that benefit from the war, stirring people and seeking to mobilize public opinion against the agreements reached," Jimenez added.

Since the Colombian government and FARC launched reconciliatory proceedings in November 2012, the two parties have officially signed accords on four out of six items put forth for formal peace talks, including justice for victims, land reform, political participation for former rebels and combating drug trafficking.

However, both sides failed to meet a March 23 deadline to formally end Latin America's longest guerilla conflict after the leftist guerilla group said they were unable to secure a comprehensive deal that would prevent demobilized fighters from being prosecuted.

Jimenez: We have repeatedly expressed that our real interest is simply to do politics legally and openly, with full guarantees

Jimenez: "We have repeatedly expressed that our real interest is simply to do politics legally and openly, with full guarantees"

Divine intervention

FARC's plea for Francis' assistance comes as the pope has played a key role in pushing for reconciliation between conflicting parties. Notably, in 2014, he helped negotiate a détente between Washington and Havana that culminated in the announcement that the US and Cuba would restore diplomatic relations in 2014.

The pope also played a pivotal function in urging a more humane response towards migrants, especially those fleeing violence and seeking refuge in the EU or US.