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Sarkozy pleads for Betancourt release

Latest update : 2008-03-06

Speaking on Colombian television, French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged rebel group FARC to release more hostages including French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt and pledged once more that, if needed, he would visit Colombia.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has encouraged Colombian rebel group FARC, which is holding hundreds of hostages including French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt, to continue its "strategy of humanitarian release."
  
Sarkozy told Colombian Canal-RCN television in an interview to be broadcast at 11:00 pm Wednesday (0400 GMT Thursday) in Bogota: "I want to tell the FARC: 'continue the strategy of humanitarian release, do not commit the irreparable, Ingrid is in danger of death.'"
  
Asked whether he intended to go to Colombia shortly, Sarkozy repeated his pledge: "If I have to I'll go. There is a small number of people including FARC leader Mr. (Manuel) Marulanda on whom the destiny of the hostages depends.
  
"It's up to him how he wants to appear to the entire world: look like an assassin or like someone who has had the courage to make a humanitarian gesture," the French president said.
  
One of four hostages released by the FARC a week ago, Luis Eladio Perez, told a French radio station that Betancourt, 46, was "very, very sick, physically and morally spent".
  
Guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) captured Betancourt in February 2002 while she was campaigning for the Colombian presidency.
  
She is among some 40 high-profile hostages, including three American defence contractors, whom FARC want to exchange for 500 rebels being held in Colombian prisons.
  
In mid-January the guerrillas released two other female hostages.
 

Date created : 2008-03-06

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