Location Venezuela Venezuela

Kerry: US Will Not Take FARC off Terror List or Release Guerrilla Leader

The top U.S. diplomat said a prisoner exchange involving Palmera is not being considered.

The fate of Ricardo Palmera, an imprisoned leader of Colombia’s FARC rebels known as Simon Trinidad, is not on the table as part of a peace agreement between the group and the Colombian government, U.S. Secretary of State JohnKerry said on Monday.

The top U.S. diplomat said a prisoner exchange involving Palmera is not being considered, despite repeated appeals by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

«Simon Trinidad was not and is not part of this agreement,» Kerry told reporters during a trip to Cartagena for the signing of the agreement to end 52 years of war. «We’re well aware of the requests that have been made and the interests that people have. But that’s really something that has to be dealt with through the Justice Department, not the State Department.»

Trinidad is serving a 60-year term at a maximum-security federal prison in Colorado for his alleged role in the kidnapping of three U.S. government contractors — who rebels say were CIA agents — in 2003.

Kerry also stated that the United States would not yet consider removing the FARC from its list of terrorist organization, despite declarations from the United States in support of the peace process.

Nonetheless, Kerry left the door open to a future review.

«We clearly are prepared to review and make judgments about that as the facts come in … We’re deeply invested in success. We don’t want to leave people on a list, if they don’t belong on a list,» he added.


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