BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's president says he is ready to start talks with the country's second-largest rebel movement.
President Juan Manuel Santos made the comment at a ceremony Wednesday, a day after the National Liberation Army freed a Canadian engineer it had held for seven months.
The president says the government would welcome talks aimed at ending a half-century of conflict.
Santos' government already is holding peace negotiations with Colombia's biggest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. But he had demanded as a condition for talks with the smaller movement that it free Gernot Wober, the Canadian kidnapped in January. The group did so Tuesday.
Both of Colombia's rebel groups formed in 1964 as an outgrowth of rural peasant movements that sought a more equitable distribution of land.
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