France doing little to help Colombian hostages

23rd February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 23, 2007 (AFP) - The family of kidnapped Franco-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt accused France on Friday of not doing enough to win the release of the politician who was abducted five years ago by rebels in Colombia.

PARIS, Feb 23, 2007 (AFP) - The family of kidnapped Franco-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt accused France on Friday of not doing enough to win the release of the politician who was abducted five years ago by rebels in Colombia.

Betancourt, 45, a presidential candidate who holds dual French and Colombian citizenship, was seized by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) during a campaign swing in rebel territory on February 23, 2002.

The politician's son Lorenzo, daughter Melanie and ex-husband Fabrice Delloye told a news conference marking the anniversary that France should stand up to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who refuses to negotiate with the rebels to secure her release and that of other prisoners.

"When French and Swiss envoys go to Colombia and are close to holding negotiations with FARC, and President Uribe breaks the contacts, what does the French government do? Total silence," said Lorenzo.

"There is no response from the French government," Melanie said, adding that Uribe was "walking all over the French government."

Betancourt's daughter opposes Uribe's plan to liberate the hostages by sending in troops, saying the Colombian president "knowns very well that a military operation will end in a bloodbath."

Betancourt's former husband described Uribe as "fiercely dangerous" and said the family was caught between "two monsters", in reference to the Colombian president and the rebels.

President Jacques Chirac has written a letter to Betancourt's mother, Yolanda Pulecio, assuring her that France "is doing everything possible to bring about an end to this ordeal."

The ex-husband said the family did not know her whereabouts or whether she was still alive.

Her abductors released in August 2003 a video cassette of Betancourt, but there has been no communication since.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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