Colombia's main leftist rebel group announced two of its negotiators on Thursday for October peace talks in Norway, and said it
hopes a high-ranking guerrilla imprisoned in the United States also can take part.
Mauricio Jaramillo, a spokesman and top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, told reporters in Havana
that Ivan Marquez and Jose Santrich will take part in the negotiations.
Marquez has been a negotiator in past peace talks and is on the FARC's six-person ruling secretariat, while Santrich is a
second-tier leader. Other negotiators will be announced later, Jaramillo said.
Dressed in civilian clothing, Jaramillo and five other FARC members fielded questions for about an hour at a convention hall in
the Cuban capital.
They said the talks will begin Oct. 8 in Oslo, and they hope one of their negotiators will be Ricardo Palmera, alias "Simon
Trinidad," a high-ranking FARC member and former peace negotiator who was extradited to the United States in 2005 and was
convicted of hostage-taking conspiracy charges.
Asked whether the FARC is seeking Palmera's release or the rebels envision him participating by videoconference, Andres Paris,
another spokesman, said they raise the issue with the Colombian government when talks begin.
The Colombian government named its five delegates to the peace negotiations on Wednesday.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC representatives announced earlier this week that they had agreed to hold talks on
ending the half-century of bloody conflict in the South American nation.
The guerrillas said the FARC will discuss a possible cease-fire when the two sides sit down in Oslo, but did not specify what
their position would be.
"It is tough to get into hypotheticals ... what is certain is that we are at war," spokesman Marco Leon Calarca said.
Earlier the guerrillas played a roughly edited video in which FARC chief Timoleon Jimenez, known by the nom de guerre
"Timochenko," denied that the rebels have been weakened by defections and the deaths of several top leaders in recent years.
"We have never been stronger or more united," Jimenez said. "They are completely mistaken, those who try to see weakness in our
tireless efforts for peace."