Sarkozy bid to aid French hostage 'naive': rebel agency
Nicolas Sarkozy dubbed "naive" for seeking to help hostage Ingrid Betancourt without any prior accord with Colombia's FARC rebels.
BOGOTA, April 4, 2008 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy was dubbed "naive" Thursday for seeking to help hostage Ingrid Betancourt without any prior accord with Colombia's FARC rebels.
"Even for a unilateral release, you would need for the parties to reach
some agreement, on security at the least," an agency close to the rebels said,
as a French medical mission arrived in Colombia to try to help an ailing
"It seems strange that the president (Sarkozy) would be so naive and that
the ICRC would be alongside him on such a dangerous adventure," the statement
run by the Anccol agency on its website said.
A French plane landed at a military airfield in Bogota earlier Thursday
carrying a medical team ready to set out to aid captive French-Colombian
politician Ingrid Betancourt, a military source said. The plane, with four
people aboard, arrived around 0700 GMT.
Earlier in Paris, a presidential source stressed that the mission to help
Betancourt, who is believed to be gravely ill, still had no guarantee her
rebel captors will grant access to her.
"We have had no reply from the FARC," the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia who have held the former Colombian presidential candidate for six
years in the Amazonian jungle, the source said.
Betancourt has become a cause celebre in France due to high-profile
campaigning by her family and friends.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's government has agreed to suspend
military operations against the FARC to allow the deployment of the mission,
but only if the French team informs it exactly where it is headed.
Sarkozy pleaded Tuesday with FARC leader Manuel Marulanda to release
Betancourt, saying he feared that she would die in the FARC camp somewhere in
Guaviare state, 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of Bogota.