Vatican says pope will not meet with FARC rebels during Cuba visit

The Vatican on Tuesday dismissed the possibility of any kind of meeting between Pope Francis and representatives of the FARC in Cuba.

The FARC have been requesting a meeting with the pope during his next visit to Cuba for the last few weeks in the context of the peace talks with the Colombian government.

The peace talks have have been taking place in Havana, Cuba since 2012 in order to resolve the 50-year-long civil conflict which left 260,00 Colombians dead and 6 million people displaced.

“Ivan Marquez,” the chief negotiator for the FARC, said of their hopes in August, “Just imagine the impact it would have to get Pope Francis’ support for this major joint effort for all Colombians — to achieve reconciliation after decades of conflict.”

FARC wants to meet with pope

Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi said in a press conference that the FARC representatives should not expect the pope to meet with them as it would not fit in with the papal program.

Pope Francis will be touring Cuba and the United States  between September 19 and September 28.

This confirmation comes after the vice director of the Vatican’s press office, Ciro Benedettini, had already dismissed the possibility of a meeting with representatives of the guerrilla group when they originally requested it.

Pope has no plans to meet with the FARC

However, earlier this year Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, did promise that he would visit Colombia, a predominantly Catholic nation, once a peace deal had been agreed.

Pope will visit Colombia after peace deal

The peace talks have been ongoing since November 2012 and seek an end to more than 50 years of armed conflict between the FARC and the state.



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