Colombia to hold direct talks with rebels over hostage swap

The Colombian government is to hold direct talks with the country's largest rebel group over the hostage swap accord, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe announced.

Colombia to hold direct talks with rebels over hostage swap
The government has never given up efforts in rescuing hostages being held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Uribe told a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the civil defense department here Tuesday.

He reaffirmed Colombia's determination to secure the hostage swap, adding that the government will grant early release to the FARC prisoners held jails if they promise not to commit crimes again.

Now, the office of high commissioner for peace and the departments of justice and the interior are working out laws to provide a legal framework for the release of the FARC prisoners included in the hostage swap plan, he said.

However, the precondition for the hostage-prisoner swap efforts is that the government's democratic security policy that seeks to re-establish order in the nation will not be hurt, Uribe added.

To this end, all the FARC prisoners will have to sign, before their release, a written pledge, promising to commit no more crimes.

On the same day, Colombia's high commissioner for peace Luis Carlos Restrepo made public the laws enacted by relevant authorities and submitted them to the congress for deliberation.

On Nov. 21, Uribe cancelled mediation efforts by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying Chavez broke his promise not to contact senior Colombian government officials without his consent.

Meanwhile, Bogota made a request for French President Nicolas Sarkozy to join mediation efforts.

Chavez was invited by Colombia in August to broker a swap deal with the FARC. Under the deal, the Colombian government has to release imprisoned FARC members in exchange for hostages taken by the rebels.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Aralık 2007, 13:27
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