Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Next stop, Westminster: Supreme Court orders Brexit parliament vote (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Next stop, Westminster: Supreme Court orders Brexit parliament vote (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Iranian women push boundaries through sport

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Crowds, Lies & Alternative Facts

Read more

ENCORE!

Backstage at the Haute Couture show of designer Julien Fournié

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

President Trump pulls US out of TPP trade deal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Donald Trump is rolling back the clock on diversity in the cabinet'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Did France's left inflate turnout figures in round one of the primary?

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Dozens killed in attack on military camp in Mali

Read more

Americas

Uribe rejects foreign help in hostage release

Video by Karim YAHIAOUI , Louis MASSIE

Latest update : 2008-12-23

Following the FARC's recent offer to release six hostages, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe rejected foreign help in negotiating their release in a comment apparently aimed at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

REUTERS - Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Monday rejected involvement of any foreign government in negotiating the release of FARC guerrilla hostages after the rebels offered to free six captives from their jungle camps.

 

Uribe's comments appeared to refer to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the left-wing leader who earlier this year helped broker the release of a group of FARC captives but later clashed with Bogota over Latin America's oldest insurgency.

 

The FARC says it plans soon to hand two kidnapped politicians and four members of the armed forces to a Colombian senator and Chavez ally, Piedad Cordoba, who suggested the Venezuelan leader could help facilitate the release.

 

"The government will not permit our foreign relations to be put at risk by involving personalities from the international community," Uribe said without referring to Chavez by name.

 

Chavez and Cordoba helped negotiate the release of six hostages at the start of the year. But Colombia was uneasy with what officials saw as Chavez's open sympathy for the Marxist rebels, who are labeled terrorists by the United States.

 

Ties soured further when Colombian soldiers killed a top FARC commander hiding inside Ecuador, triggering a brief dispute during which Caracas and Quito recalled their envoys from Bogota and sent troops to the Colombian frontier.

 

"Everything depends on Colombia's government, in the case they ask us to participate. We will respect any decision the Colombian government has taken or will take," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told reporters.

 

The FARC gave few details on the planned release. But they say three police officers and one soldier will be freed first, followed by former state governor Alan Jara and local lawmaker Sigifredo Lopez, both held for more than six years.

 

Uribe, popular at home for his U.S.-funded military campaign against the rebels, said the government would allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to take part.

 

Once a mighty army controlling large parts of Colombia, the FARC has been battered this year by the desertions, the deaths of three commanders and the rescue of key hostages, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

 

Attempts to negotiate a deal to free at least 28 high-profile hostages in rebel hands have been stalled over a FARC demand Uribe demilitarize a safe haven. Uribe refuses, but offers talks under international observation.

 

 

Date created : 2008-12-23

COMMENT(S)