DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     July 2, 1998     vol. 9, no. 128

from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO


          BOGOTA (CWNews.com) - The Colombian Bishops' Conference announced on Tuesday that the Catholic Church will act as mediator in a landmark peace meeting to be held on July 12 between the newly elected government of President Andres Pastrana and Colombian rebel leaders.

          The meeting which breaks almost five years of gridlock will include six representatives from the Catholic Church, six from the government's National Committee for Peace, and six members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), one of the largest rebel groups of the country. Archbishop Antonio Giraldo of Medellin, president of the bishops' conference, said the goal of the meeting is to make concrete the Mainz Accord, a pre-agreement signed last weekend in the German city during a "discrete" meeting between the government and the rebels, sponsored by the Colombian bishops.

          Archbishop Giraldo admitted having "great expectations and hope" for the success of the dialogue and said he sees it as "a very positive sign of good will from the rebels as well as from the new government." He added, "All of us want peace and we hope we can finally achieve it this time." Archbishop Giraldo revealed that the Colombian bishops started to discreetly prepare for the meeting of Mainz in 1996 "when I visited the president of the German Bishops' Conference, who help us to prepare this event."

          Two weeks ago, Father Jorge Martinez, the director of the Life, Justice, and Peace Committee of the Colombian Episcopate, went to Germany to prepare the Mainz meeting along with German Father Hans Langendorfer. Archbishop Giraldo also highlighted the "key participation" of German Bishop Emile Stehle, who worked for a time in Colombia and Ecuador and is not only familiar with Latin America, but speaks fluent Spanish as well.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

July 2, 1998       volume 9, no. 128


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