Colombian president urges FARC to free hostages
President Alvaro Uribe on Thursday urged FARC rebels to free Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages ahead of EU-Latin American summit in Peru.16 May 2008
BOGOTA - Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Thursday urged Marxist FARC rebels to free Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages ahead of a EU-Latin American summit in Peru.
"Hopefully, now before the summit begins, the FARC terrorist movement or one of its spokespeople will announce the release of Ingrid Betancourt and the other kidnapping victims," Uribe told journalists after meeting with Czech Republic Prime Minister Miroslav Topolanek.
Uribe was to travel later Thursday to Lima for the summit, and planned to discuss the hostage situation with his colleagues, his office said.
Leaders from 50 Latin American and European nations started converging on Lima Thursday on the eve of the summit, which is to address global warming and poverty - and particularly the recent spike in world food prices that has generated violence in several countries.
Betancourt is among 39 high-profile hostages who the FARC rebel group wants to exchange with the government for 500 of their jailed fellow guerrillas.
The FARC, which has been fighting Bogota for four decades, has held Betancourt since February 2002, when she was abducted as she campaigned for the Colombian presidency.
[AFP / Expatica]