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Colombia's Government, Rebels Agree to Open Peace Process


Colombia's government and the second largest rebel group have agreed to open formal peace talks to end decades of fighting.

The government's peace envoy, Luis Carlos Restrepo and a leader, Antonio Garcia of the rebel National Liberation Army (ELN) announced the plan during talks in Havana, Cuba, Thursday.

The two men said they agreed to seek peaceful conditions and the inclusion of Colombian society in the peace process.

Earlier this year, ELN rebels split with their former ally, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC, because of their desire to pursue talks with the government.

FARC leaders have rejected talks with the government.

This week, Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe withdrew an offer for talks with the FARC, blaming the leftist fighters for a car bombing. The blast wounded 23 people in Bogota.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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