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Colombia Government, Leftist Rebels End Talks on 'Cordial' Note

Colombia's government and leaders of the country's second-largest leftist rebel group ended nearly a week of exploratory peace talks in Cuba Wednesday with an agreement to set an agenda for future reconciliation efforts.

The government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) said the talks had been "frank and cordial," and indicated the two sides will meet again in Havana in January.

Observers say the two sides are still very far from agreement, but the recently concluded discussions created an atmosphere of trust from which to work.

The last talks between the government and ELN. broke down in December 2002.

Neither party said which issues would be on the agenda, but observers believe the ELN demands for sweeping economic and social reforms in Colombia and the government's demands for some kind of a rebel cease-fire will have to be discussed.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.