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Colombia Rebels Extend Unilateral Ceasefire

Colombian rebels holding peace talks with the government have extended a unilateral ceasefire, one of their commanders said Thursday.

The commander, Carlos Antonio Lozada, one of the FARC guerrilla group's negotiators at the talks in Havana, did not specify how long the extension would last.

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Venezuela Closes Part of Border After Attack Wounds 4

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has ordered part of frontier with Colombia closed after four people were wounded in an overnight attack along the border.

Speaking late Wednesday on state-run VTV television, Maduro said two men on motorcycles had attacked soldiers involved in anti-smuggling operations along the northwestern border with Colombia.

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Pope Not Planning Meet with Colombia Rebels, Says Vatican

Pope Francis is not planning to meet with Colombia's FARC rebels when he visits Cuba in September, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Representatives of the guerrilla group have been holding peace talks with a Colombian government delegation since November 2012 in a bid to end an insurgency dating back to the 1960s which has cost more than 220,000 lives.

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Colombia Rebels Hope to Meet with Pope

Colombia's FARC rebels said Tuesday they have asked to meet with Pope Francis when he visits Cuba in September.

The guerrillas have been holding peace talks with a Colombian government delegation in Havana since November 2012. 

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U.N. Names Delegate to Colombia Peace Talks

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed a mediation expert Thursday as his representative to peace talks between leftist guerrilla fighters and the Colombian government.

Jean Arnault, who helped oversee implementation of the Guatemala peace process in the 1990s, will serve as delegate to the "Sub-Commission on End of Conflict Issues within the Colombian Peace Process," according to a U.N. statement.

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Jailed FARC Rebels Call for Amnesty in Colombia

Any peace deal to end Colombia's five-decade guerrilla war must include an amnesty for imprisoned FARC rebels, two of them told AFP in a rare interview from jail.

The issue is one of the most delicate at peace talks in Cuba between President Juan Manuel Santos's government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

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15 Colombian Police Killed in Helicopter Crash

Fifteen police were killed Tuesday in Colombia when a helicopter taking part in an anti-drug trafficking operation crashed in a remote jungle-covered region, the national police force said.

A total of 17 officers were on board the Blackhawk helicopter, which was involved in an operation against the powerful Clan Usuga drug gang in northwestern Colombia's Antioquia department, said a police statement.

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Colombia Rebels Want Meeting with Pope during Cuba Visit

Colombia's Marxist FARC rebels, now negotiating a peace deal in Havana, said Sunday they hope to meet with Pope Francis on his upcoming Cuba visit.

Pope Francis will visit Cuba September 19 to 22 as part of a tour that will later take him to the United States.

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Earthquake Rocks Colombia Near Panama Border

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 rocked northern Colombia near its border with Panama on Tuesday, authorities said, though there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake struck at 7:10 pm (0010 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 30 kilometers (18 miles) in Choco department.

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FARC Praises Colombia's Santos for Halting Air Strikes

Colombia's FARC guerrillas on Tuesday praised President Juan Manuel Santos' decision to suspend air strikes against rebel forces, but urged further steps to de-escalate the half-century-old conflict.

Santos ordered the stand-down on Saturday, five days after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC by its Spanish acronym, resumed a unilateral ceasefire.

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