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Friday, February 15, 2008

Ecuador negotiating release of FARC hostages

People's Daily Online, Feb 14, 2008

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said Wednesday he is negotiating with his French and Venezuelan counterparts the release of hostages held by Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC).

Correa Wednesday told Quito's Radio Vision that he had met with a delegate of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Guatemala in January, in order to "advance an immediate and unconditional liberation of all the kidnapped people."

"I demanded of the FARC the immediate liberation of all the kidnapped people and we are working together with Venezuelan government and French government," said Correa.

Correa said he will abstain from branding FARC a "terrorist" group and neither he will describe it as a belligerent force, because its kidnapping does not comply with the "Geneva Conventions."

FARC is holding 43 "interchangeable" hostages, including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betan court, who it wants to swap for some 500 FARC troops imprisoned in Colombia and other countries.

"Ecuador has never called FARC terrorists, because if you call them terrorists, you do not allow any possibility of political dialogue," Correa told the radio network.

Meanwhile, Correa also criticized Colombia's lack of control of its border with Ecuador, allowing "FARC to control the northern border with Ecuador, costing us an excessive amount of money and manpower."

Source: Xinhua

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