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EU: Colombia's FARC added to terrorist list

Overcoming opposition from Sweden and France, the EU added Colombia's FARC to its terrorist list. The 15 EU foreign ministers' meeting in Luxembourg precedes a 21-22 June summit of European leaders Seville. Thge Spanish government has been supporting the Colombian government's push for the inclusion of FARC in the blacklist since it broke off peace talks in February. EU countries can freeze assets of groups on the list, which already includes Colombia's right-wing paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC. ETA, an armed group that seeks Basque independence from Spain and France, and the al-Qaida network are among other organizations on the blacklist. The Colombian government says the FARC has carried out more than 700 attacks in the past five months. Some 40'000 people have died in the past decade alone of Colombia's 38-year-old war, the longest in Latin America. Sweden's oppostion to the move was prompted by the fact that it recognized the failure of its attempts to tame the FARC by sponsoring the European tour of its leaders. It was cwertainly odd that the AUF should have been blacklisted before FARC, but there again Swedish politics was involved. Sweden does not belong to NATO, and its government stresses its tradition of peaceful neutrality. The conservative opposition is pushing for Sweden to join NATO. and forcing the government to moderate its position.

Ronald Hilton - 6/17/02