Sant'Egidio Launches Appeal for Continued Peace Talks in Colombia

Negotiations at «Turning Point», Says Sant’Egidio President

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“Peace Now”, an appeal for the resumption of dialogue between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas, was launched by the Sant’Egidio community Feb. 12

The appeal, promoted by the Catholic lay community and signed by a group of eminent international personalities including two Nobel laureates, was launched by the president of Sant’Egidio, Marco Impagliazzo, and Riccardo Cannelli, head of Sant’Egidio Colombia.

Impagliazzo said the current peace talks are at a “turning point” and Sant’Egidio’s appeal aims to “express solidarity and encouragement» that the peace efforts continue beyond political and presidential elections scheduled for March and May respectively.

For the first time in the bloody, 50 year guerrilla conflict, peace has become a real possibility Sant’Egidio says, with agreement on two out of five points of a peace plan. Now the talks turn to the particularly sensitive issue of reconverting enormous areas used for cultivating drugs which are controlled by the FARC.  

Among the signatories of the appeal are Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, former presidents Jacques Chirac of France and Mario Soares of Portugal, former Secretary General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former IMF director Michel Camdessus, and Italian politicians Massimo D’Alema and Franco Frattini.

“Peace-building takes time,” said Impagliazzo, but the foundations are there and dialogue is the only way to go.»

Yesterday’s press conference took place on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, a bloody scourge that also affects the South American country.

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