French FM to travel to Colombia after hostage rescue mission fails

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Bernard Kouchner will travel to Colombia to discuss the situation after leftist rebels refused to release former French-Colombian presidential candidate.

   PARIS, April 9, 2008 -  French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner will travel to Colombia to discuss the situation after leftist rebels refused to release former French-Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, the
government said Tuesday.
   Kouchner "will travel soon to the region to evaluate the situation with the
leaders of the countries most concerned," said a statement released by the
office of President Nicolas Sarkozy.
   Earlier, France said it was calling back its medical team that has been
waiting in Bogota since Thursday for the possible release of Betancourt, who
also holds French citizenship, after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC) rejected the aid mission as "inappropriate."
   The statement said that Sarkozy was "deeply disappointed" by FARC's
rejection of the medical team, but that "France remains fully mobilised to
free the hostages and return them to their families."
   The FARC has been fighting the Colombian government for more than 40 years.
It is said to hold hundreds of hostages, of which Betancourt is the most high
profile. She has spent six years of captivity in the jungle.

AFP 

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