Colombian army poised to invade FARC base

 

The Colombian army is poised to sweep into a Marxist rebel enclave after President Andres Pastrana threw out a negotiating proposal by Marxist FARC guerrillas as "not satisfactory".

"Colombians want effective results ... only a clear public declaration (from the FARC) to this effect will stop the clock," he said.

He reaffirmed an earlier stipulation that the guerrillas had until tomorrow to leave their safe haven before government troops moved in.

Mr Pastrana was responding to a 14-point negotiating blueprint produced by commanders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - known by the Spanish initials FARC - on the brink of a government deadline after two days of intense talks with a special UN envoy.

The rebel negotiating document, produced with the help of UN mediator Mr James LeMoyne, was "not satisfactory for the government or the president", he said.

The guerrilla proposal had seemed to address the president's main concern - that the FARC must drop its insistence on relaxing security controls around the Switzerland-sized territory he granted them at the start of talks in late-1998.

It had suggested referring disputes over roadblocks on the borders of their enclave to a special commission.