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Colombian rebels urge on national soccer team

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — They proclaim Marxism on the battlefield but Colombia's largest rebel group is all nationalism come World Cup time.

In a public letter Wednesday to Colombia's national team and its Argentine coach, Jose Pekerman, negotiators for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia say they hope Colombia's return to soccer's top tournament for the first time since 1998 can help advance peace talks taking place in Cuba for more than 18 months.

The statement posted on the Internet says: "We'll be with the national team in the good times and bad times."

The FARC says soccer's tradition of respect and tolerance can, in its words, "provide moments of delight or entertainment that soothe consciences and contribute to finding the best way on the path toward reconciliation."

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