Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

  • ‘Let it be’: Londoners sick of Abbey Road tourists

    Read more

Kouchner: France paid no ransom for Betancourt

Latest update : 2008-07-06

France's foreign minister said "no French money" was paid to free hostages held by Colombian rebels. Meanwhile, former hostage Ingrid Betancourt got a clean bill of health from French military doctors.

Click here to send us your reactions following Ingrid Betancourt's rescue


In an interview with the French Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper published on Sunday, France's foreign affairs minister, Bernard Kouchner, denied a ransom was paid to Colombian rebels to release a group of hostages, including the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

"I never heard about any money," he said. "Clearly, there was no French money. That commando operation was only an infiltration operation, which was skilfully prepared over a long period of time."

Reports of a ransom being paid have been denied repeatedly by Colombian officials, and on Friday Colombia's military showed a video of hostages sobbing with relief aboard a helicopter upon discovering they had been freed.

The video was released to counter questions about the military's dramatic and bloodless coup, Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos denied reports that it was arranged in advance with the help of 20 million dollars (12.7 million euros) paid to bribe the hostages' guards.


Clean bill of health for Betancourt

Betancourt said she had been given a clean bill of health on Saturday after a series of medical tests at a Paris military hospital.

"The doctors showered me with good news. I have had a number of concerns all these years. Now, I'm totally happy," she told France 3.

The 46-year-old former hostage, who was freed on Wednesday, spent almost seven hours at the Val-de-Grace military hospital.

She said she was "very, very surprised" not to have any physical side effects after more than six years of captivity in the hands of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"The spirit helps you to carry on," said Betancourt, who has often spoken of her Catholic faith and of a "spiritual protection".

However, doctors have warned against the psychological effects of captivity following the initial euphoria, including depression and lack of self-confidence which could be lasting.

Date created : 2008-07-06

COMMENT(S)