Sarkozy 'ready' to enter restive zone to free hostage
Nicolas Sarkozy is "ready" to enter a restive South American zone to help end the six-year-old kidnap ordeal of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.
PARIS, March 46 2008 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy is "ready" to
enter a restive South American zone to help end the six-year-old kidnap ordeal
of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, his spokesman told AFP.
"The president said publicly (on Friday, in South Africa) that he was ready
to present himself in person at the border between Colombia and Venezuela to
retrieve Ingrid Betancourt, if that is the condition for her liberation,"
David Martinon said.
"This possibility was discussed with President (Hugo) Chavez (of Venezuela)
during Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner's trip to Caracas (in February). It
remains on the agenda," Martinon added.
Venezuela and Ecuador have broken off ties with Colombia and moved troops
to the Colombian border following Saturday's incursion by Colombian forces
into Ecuador, which saw the killing of senior Colombian rebel commander Raul
Reyes, and 16 others.
Colombia accuses Chavez of sponsoring the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC), who have been holding Betancourt -- a former presidential
candidate who also holds French nationality -- hostage for the past six years.
FARC subsequently said Reyes was killed as he was trying to set up a
meeting with Sarkozy on the issue.