Panamanian Government Dismisses Possibility of Dialogue with Colombian Irregular Groups
By Dialogo January 24, 2011
Panamanian Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela dismissed the possibility of negotiations between the government and groups of Colombian irregulars who may be active in Panama.
“We’re not going to engage in dialogue with irregular groups dedicated to drug trafficking, and still less with groups that are trying to recruit young people from the Emberá ethnic group, Panamanian young people from modest backgrounds in that area (of El Darién, on the border with Colombia), in the attempt to get them to join their ranks in order to commit illicit acts,” Varela told reporters.
The foreign minister spoke after the existence of an alleged note by the FARC Colombian guerrilla group became public, in which note the group is believed to request a “dialogue” with the Panamanian police, in exchange for not acting against them in Panamanian territory.
According to Varela, this is all part of psychological warfare by the FARC, “sending a message to our police that they are co-existing with them in the area and that we should establish a dialogue.”
“Our only message here is that they withdraw from Panamanian territory. We’re going to defend Panamanian territory to the last square meter, and what they should do is just take their conflict elsewhere,” Varela said.
Previously, the National Border Service discovered and put out of operation a camp in Darién where the Evert Ortega Company of Front 57 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was operating.