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07 May 2003

U.S. Condemns Murders of Colombian Citizens by FARC Terrorists

(Boucher extends condolences to victims' families) (240)

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher issued a statement May 6
condemning the May 5 murders of ten Colombian citizens, including
Governor Guillermo Gaviria of Antioquia Province and former Defense
Minister Gilberto Echeverri, by members of the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (known by the Spanish acronym FARC). The Bush
Administration is "shocked and deeply saddened" by the murders,
Boucher said.

FARC has been designated by the State Department as a foreign
terrorist organization, and is responsible for much of the violence
stemming from Colombia's decades-old civil war.

Following is the text of Boucher's statement:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2003

STATEMENT BY RICHARD BOUCHER, SPOKESMAN

MURDER OF COLOMBIAN GOVERNOR GUILLERMO GAVIRIA OF ANTIOQUIA PROVINCE,
AND FORMER DEFENSE MINISTER AND PEACE ADVISER GILBERTO ECHEVERRI

We are appalled and deeply saddened to learn of the cold-blooded
murders of Governor Guillermo Gaviria, former Defense Minister and
Peace Adviser Gilberto Echeverri, and eight captive soldiers by the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) May 5, 2003. Governor
Gaviria and Mr. Echeverri had been kidnapped on April 21, 2002, while
participating in a peace march in Antioquia. We extend our condolences
to their families and friends.

This action demonstrates the FARC's brutality and indifference to
those courageous Colombians who seek peace and a negotiated resolution
to Colombia's longstanding internal conflict.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)