French plane leaves Colombia after hostage mission fails

10th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

French plane carrying a medical mission left Colombia on Wednesday after France failed to convince Marxist rebels to let its doctors see ailing French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt.

  BOGOTA, April 10, 2008  - A French plane carrying a medical mission
left Colombia on Wednesday after France failed to convince Marxist rebels to
let its doctors see ailing French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt.
   The plane had been on standby in Bogota awaiting permission from the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to fly to the aid of Betancourt,
who has been held in the jungle for more than six years.
   But the FARC rejected the mercy mission sent by French President Nicolas
Sarkozy, saying in a statement on Tuesday that it does not act "under
blackmail or under pressure from media campaigns."
   Betancourt, 46, is a former Colombian presidential candidate who is among
39 high-profile hostages whom FARC want the Colombian government to swap for
500 jailed rebels.
   The two sides, however, have failed on agree on conditions for an exchange.
   The French government had already tried to rescue Betancourt once before  
in July 2003, when it secretly sent a plane to Brazil's Amazon region
believing she might be freed.
   But the operation failed and angered the governments of Colombia and
Brazil, which had not been notified.

AFP 

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