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Sunday, June 1, 2008
Colombia VP says FARC sought ETA ties for attack in Spain
BOGOTA (AFP)--Colombia's Marxist FARC rebels sought to forge an alliance with the Basque separatist group ETA to launch an attack in Spain on top Colombian officials, Vice President Francisco Santos charged Friday.
But the Anncol news agency, which is sympathetic to the FARC, said in an article on its Web site that the government mistook a reference to the town of Madrid in northern Colombia for a reference to the Spanish capital.
Santos said ""the FARC's contacts with ETA and drug traffickers exporting cocaine to Europe are not new, and when they are secure in Colombia, they try to do harm overseas,"" which, he claimed, was the rebels' goal.
""In any case, the police and defense ministry continue to do intelligence analysis on the FARC's relationship with ETA but that (foreign operations) is one of the risks you have to take,"" Santos told RCN radio from Geneva.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrilla army on Sunday confirmed that its founder and longtime chief, Manuel Marulanda, had died after leading a bloody, four-decade long campaign against Bogota.
The FARC has become South America's longest-running and largest insurgency. The rebels are believed to hold an estimated 750 people hostage, and traffic drugs to fund their insurgency against the government.
ETA is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union and the U.S. It is blamed for the deaths of more than 820 people in its 40-year campaign for an independent Basque nation in northern Spain and southwestern France.