- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 13, 2002

LOS POZOS, Colombia A deadline for reviving peace talks between the government and the main rebel army passed last night, with the rebels saying the president had not responded to their last-minute proposals.
A few minutes after the deadline, leaders of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia said they sent President Andres Pastrana a draft agreement proposing that a commission be formed to investigate security controls that had led the rebels to abandon the peace talks in October.
The rebels said Mr. Pastrana had not yet responded. A United Nations mediator said the president wanted time to consider the proposals.
At stake was a peace process started three years ago to bring an end to 38 years of civil war.
Mr. Pastrana had declared the talks over Wednesday, and threatened to send troops back into a rebel safe haven granted to the rebels, known by the Spanish acronym FARC, when the talks began.
But the next day, he gave U.N. envoy James LeMoyne until 9:30 p.m. yesterday to revive peace talks, which the rebels suspended after the army instituted security controls just outside the zone.
"I sincerely hope that these efforts permit [both sides] to find a solution to the crisis and continue with the peace process the other alternative is war," Mr. LeMoyne said shortly after the deadline passed.
He said he had spoken with Mr. Pastrana and that the president was planning to make an announcement after he had considered the proposed draft.
Negotiations began Friday in Los Pozos inside the safe haven amid cautious hopes that Mr. LeMoyne could patch up the faltering peace process.
But Mr. Pastrana warned that if Mr. LeMoyne's efforts failed to achieve a "positive result," the rebels would have just 48 hours to pull out of the Switzerland-sized zone in southern Colombia.
Army troops were poised yesterday to move into the zone.

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