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Colombian guerrillas to embrace Gandhism, ready for peace talks with Cuba

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Havana: Colombian guerrillas are now holding peace talks with their government here in Cuba have agreed to embrace Gandhism, the Art of Living said on Monday.

The guerrillas made the commitment to Art of Living’s spiritual leader Ravi Shankar when he met them during a three-day visit to Cuba, an Art of Living statement said.

The statement quoted Ivan Marquez, a commander of FARC, as saying: “We will work for peace and justice for all the people of Colombia.”

Marquez, Pablo Catatumbo, and his group thanked Ravi Shankar for his “patience, understanding and wisdom”, the statement said.

After a lot of discussions, the FARC finally agreed to embrace the Gandhian principle of non-violence. Marquez announced this at a press conference.

“We will work for peace and justice for all the people of Colombia,” he was quoted as saying.

One of the members, Commander Pastor Alope, remarked that spiritual wisdom had been missing and was very much needed.

The Art of Living Foundation said there had been “a historic change of heart and strategy” by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC.

The FARC, a leftist group, and has been waging  bloody guerrilla wars in Colombia since 1964. Varying reports put its current military strength at around 10,000 fighters.

The statement said FARC requested Ravi Shankar to actively participate in the peace process which is currently on in Havana.

“In this conflict, everyone should be considered victims. And inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help,” Ravi Shankar said.

The FARC has agreed to speed up the process and give a surprise breakthrough for peace building in the coming days.

On June 24, Ravi Shankar had an hour-long meeting with Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota.

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North Korea warns US to Not Misread Peace Overtures as Weakness

North Korea has warned the United States not to misread its overtures of peace as a sign of weakness, as U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prepare to hold their first-ever summit.

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But the North Korean spokesman said Sunday that movement of U.S. military assets in the region and talk of human rights violations also have hurt the peace process.
North Korea and US agitation, VOA

North Korea has warned the United States not to misread its overtures of peace as a sign of weakness, as U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prepare to hold their first-ever summit.

“The U.S. is deliberately provoking the DPRK at the time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told North Korean state media Sunday. DPRK — the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — is the North’s formal name.

The official was referring to U.S. claims that Trump’s policy of maximum political pressure and sanctions are what drove the North to the negotiating table.

The criticism comes weeks before the U.S.-North Korea summit planned for later this month or early June, and after last month’s historic meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Read also: Israel Warns Iran, Hints Towards a War in Middle East

At that meeting, Kim promised to work toward a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and to move North Korea’s clocks ahead by 30 minutes to correspond with the South Korean time zone, a pledge he fulfilled Saturday.

Beware of moving ‘back to square one’

But the North Korean spokesman said Sunday that movement of U.S. military assets in the region and talk of human rights violations also have hurt the peace process.

The official was referring to U.S. claims that Trump's policy of maximum political pressure and sanctions are what drove the North to the negotiating table.
US President, Wikimedia Commons

“This act cannot be construed otherwise than a dangerous attempt to ruin the hard-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one,” he said.

Trump has indicated that the date and place of the summit have been chosen, and said he believes the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas might be a good venue. Singapore was also believed to be a potential site.

Before Trump meets with Kim, Washington is hoping to gain the release of three Korean Americans accused of anti-state activities. Trump hinted that the release of Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim was in the offing.

There was no sign of an imminent release, though the men had reportedly been moved to the North Korean capital.

The White House, meanwhile, has announced a separate meeting between Trump and Moon at the White House on May 22 to “continue their close coordination on developments regarding the Korean Peninsula.” (VOA)