France welcomes Chavez efforts on hostages

4th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 3, 2007 (AFP) - France Monday hailed the efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to secure the release of 45 hostages held by the Colombian rebel group FARC, including the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

PARIS, Sept 3, 2007 (AFP) - France Monday hailed the efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to secure the release of 45 hostages held by the Colombian rebel group FARC, including the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

"We salute the efforts of President Chavez to help conclude a humanitarian accord," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani. "We urge the FARC to make the necessary moves to allow the hostages in Colombia to be released without delay."

She said France "noted with great interest" the announcements made following Chavez's talks in Colombia with President Alvaro Uribe on Friday.

The two leaders agreed to allow a representative of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to meet with Chavez in Venezuela to discuss the exchange of 45 rebel hostages -- including Betancourt -- for 500 FARC members in government jails.

Plans for an exchange have been stalled for months due to conflicting demands from both sides, despite international pressure including from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Chavez said Saturday that Sarkozy had asked him by telephone to obtain proof that Betancourt, who was seized in 2002 while campaigning for the presidential election, is still alive.

AFP

Subject: French news

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