Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

"iVIOLATED"

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: thousands pay tribute to Michael Brown

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

French foreign minister to try to free Betancourt

Latest update : 2008-04-26

Bernard Kouchner will visit Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela to try and find a way to free Ingrid Betancourt, after France abandoned a medical mission to treat the FARC-held hostage earlier this month.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner will visit Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela next week to seek a way of freeing Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages held by Colombian FARC guerrillas, his office said on Friday.
 
Paris earlier this month abandoned a mission to send a medical team to treat Betancourt, a Franco-Colombian citizen kidnapped by the Marxist FARC while campaigning for the presidency in 2002.
 
France said earlier this month that Betancourt was seriously ill and that the country would seek other ways to help her after the medical mission collapsed.
 
Kouchner will discuss the hostages with the three heads of state "and speak about the urgency of finding a humanitarian solution that could lead to the release of the hostages held by the FARC," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
 
"The minister will reiterate France's desire that trusting relations be renewed between the three countries. Such a normalisation can only help the hostages' cause," it added.
 
Colombia earlier this year raided an area inside Ecuador to kill a rebel leader, triggering a dispute that spread across the region with leftist ally Venezuela joining Ecuador in cutting relations with Colombia.
 
After days of hostile rhetoric and troop buildups, the presidents of the three countries ended the dispute with handshakes at a summit on March 7.
 
President Nicolas Sarkozy has made it a priority to secure the release of Betancourt who has spent more than six years in captivity.
 
Betancourt, three Americans, politicians, police and soldiers are among 40 political captives whom the FARC says it wants to exchange for jailed fighters. The guerrillas and government are deadlocked over a hostage deal.
 
Kouchner is due to visit Bogota on April 28, Quito on April 29, and Caracas on April 30 and will also discuss economic cooperation between France and the three countries, the Foreign Ministry said.

Date created : 2008-04-25

COMMENT(S)