Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 24th 2015 Contents A31
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BOGOTA---Colombia s president and
the head of the FARC rebel group were
headed to Cuba yesterday in a push to
end Latin America s oldest guerrilla
"Peace is near," President Juan Manuel
Santos said on Twitter, announcing the
surprise trip to Havana, where his gov-
ernment has been in peace talks with
the FARC for nearly three years.
A FARC source who asked not to be
identified said the rebel group s leader,
Timoleon Jimenez, also was going to
Havana to meet with Santos, Cuban Pres-
ident Raul Castro and the negotiating
Santos said his trip to Havana was "for
a key meeting with negotiators with the
objective of accelerating the end of the
conflict," which has been running for a
Both sides have reported progress in
resolving one of the most difficult issues
of the peace talks---how to bring to justice
guerrillas who lay down their arms.
"Justice is at the heart of the peace
negotiations and with an agreement on
that issue, the dream of building a coun-
try in peace begins to become a reality,"
the president s office said in a statement.
The conflict has simmered since the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC) took up arms against the gov-
ernment in 1964, unleashing a guerrilla
war that has claimed the lives of more
than 220,000 people. (AFP)
SANTO DOMINGO---A European Union official
warned yesterday that an impending Haitian ban
on some Dominican Republic products will drive
up prices in the impoverished country.
Alberto Navarro, head of the EU delegation in the
Dominican Republic, said that wheat, corn, bread
and other affected goods could become up to 40 per
cent more expensive in Haiti.
"There s no doubt the same ones will keep paying
the price: those who are most disadvantaged," he
Haiti s government has said that starting Oct0ber
1, it will ban 23 Dominican goods from crossing the
border of the island it shares with the Dominican
Republic to improve tax collection. The goods will
be allowed to enter Haiti by boat or plane through
the capital of Port-au-Prince or the northern coastal
town of Cap Haitien.
The goods represent some $500 million in sales
a year and make up six per cent of all Dominican
exports. Haitian business leaders have praised the
measure, saying it will help support the local econ-
The ban comes amid growing tensions between
the two countries as the Dominican Republic steps
up deportation of Haitians. (AP)
MIAMI---A Saudi prisoner at Guantanamo who
waged a hunger strike for years to protest his con-
finement has been released from the US base at
Cuba, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Abdul Shalabi was sent back to Saudi Arabia, where
he was expected to take part in a rehabilitation pro-
gramme for militants.
Shalabi, 39, was among the first prisoners brought
to Guantanamo in January 2002. The US said he had
been a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden and an asso-
ciate of other senior al-Qaeda figures, including
Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He was never charged
with a crime.
A government review board, which includes military
and intelligence officials, determined it was no longer
necessary to detain him at Guantanamo, though it
noted that he "probably continues to sympathise
with extremists" in a statement. (AP)
'Haitian ban on
will be costly'
US frees hunger striker
'Peace is near' in Colombia rebel conflict
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