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DATE=7/19/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251931 TITLE=U-S/COLOMBIA (L ONLY) BYLINE=GIL BUTLER DATELINE=STATE DEPARTMENT CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE UNITED STATES HAS BLAMED COLOMBIAN REBELS FOR THE SUSPENSION OF PLANNED PEACE TALKS WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF COLOMBIA. THE SUSPENSION OF TALKS WHICH HAD BEEN SCHEDULED TO START TODAY WAS ANNOUNCED ON SATURDAY BY GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATORS AND LEADERS OF THE REBELS. VOA'S GIL BUTLER HAS THE STORY FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT. TEXT: THE PEACE TALKS WERE PUT OFF INDEFINITELY IN THE WAKE OF A REBEL OFFENSIVE IN WHICH 300 PEOPLE WERE REPORTED KILLED. IN ANNOUNCING THE SUSPENSION, THE COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT AND LEADERS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMED FORCES OF COLOMBIA- OR FARC- SAID THEY COULD NOT AGREE ON INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS TO MONITOR THE TALKS. HERE AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT, SPOKESMAN JAMES RUBIN USED UNUSUALLY DIRECT LANGUAGE IN BLAMING THE LACK OF TALKS ON THE FARC LEADERSHIP. HE SAID THE UNITED STATES SUPPORTS PRESIDENT ANDRES PASTRANA'S COMMITMENT TO ENDING NEARLY 40 YEARS OF INTERNAL CONFLICT IN COLOMBIA. MR. RUBIN ACCUSED THE FARC LEADERS OF, IN HIS WORDS, CYNICALLY MANIPULATING THE PEACE PROCESS. /// RUBIN ACT /// THE BLAME FOR THE FAILURE OF THE PEACE TALKS TO PROCEED RESTS SQUARELY ON THE SHOULDERS OF FARC LEADER MANUEL MARULANDA AND JORGE BRICENO. THEY ARE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS SET-BACK. DESPITE PROTESTATIONS AND CLAIMS OF A DESIRE FOR PEACE, THE FARC HAS CONTINUED TO KIDNAP AND BRUTALLY MURDER COLOMBIANS, U-S CITIZENS AND OTHER FOREIGN NATIONALS. /// END ACT /// THE SPOKESMAN CALLED ON THE REBEL LEADERS TO SHOW GOOD FAITH BY HALTING KIDNAPPINGS AND MURDERS OF CIVILIANS AND TO ENGAGE IMMEDIATELY IN SUBSTANTIVE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT. /// REST OPTIONAL /// LAST WEEK COLOMBIA'S DEFENSE MINISTER REPORTEDLY REQUESTED 500 MILLION DOLLARS IN MILITARY ASSISTANCE OVER TWO YEARS TO FIGHT NARCOTICS TRAFFICING IN COLOMBIA--A MAJOR SOURCE OF MONEY FOR THE REBELS. MR. RUBIN TOLD REPORTERS THE COLOMBIAN PROPOSALS ARE BEING STUDIED.(SIGNED) NEB/GB/TVM/PT 19-Jul-99 4:07 PM EDT (2007 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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