Colombia Rebel Group Rejects Peace Offer

Sun Dec 28, 7:51 PM ET


Associated Press Writer BOGOTA, Colombia - The smaller of two Colombian leftist rebel groups has rejected a government offer to open peace talks, local media reported Sunday. Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista told the El Espectador newspaper that his group "does not see the possibility of dialogue with the government." Rodriguez is the top commander of the National Liberation Army, known by its Spanish initials as ELN. "We are faced with a government that is pursuing a strategy of war, not a strategy of peace," Rodriguez said in an interview published Sunday. Earlier this month, President Alvaro Uribe invited the rebels to open talks after meeting with Felipe Torres, an ELN spokesman released from jail for good behavior after serving less than nine years of a 20-year sentence.

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