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Last Updated: Monday, 12 March 2007, 23:30 GMT
Nobel laureate in Colombia talks
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez has a close friendship with Fidel Castro
Nobel Prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez is to join peace talks between Colombia's government and the country's second-largest rebel group.

Negotiations over a ceasefire to end a four-decade insurgency by the National Liberation Army (ELN) have stalled, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said.

Mr Uribe gave no details on how the Colombian author would participate.

Analysts say the government may see his close friendship with Cuban leader Fidel Castro as a way to bolster talks.

The latest in five rounds of talks with the ELN ended last month with no breakthroughs.

THE ELN
Formed by intellectuals in 1965
Inspired by Cuban Revolution
About 4,000 members
Mainly carries out kidnappings and attacks on infrastructure
Listed by US and Europe as terror group

Garcia Marquez made a symbolic appearance in talks between Mr Uribe's predecessor and the largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

Those talks collapsed in 2002, a few months before Mr Uribe was elected with a vow to defeat the rebels.

Correspondents say the ELN - some 4,000-strong - is not regarded as a big player in the civil conflict, which has pitted left-wing rebels against the state and right-wing paramilitaries.

However, the government is keen to remove the ELN from the equation so that it can concentrate on the more powerful Farc, with whom it has refused to talk, and the drugs trade that fuels the fighting.




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