FARC to be blamed if Betancourt dies: Sarkozy

April 2nd, 2008 - 9:12 pm ICT by admin  

Paris, April 2 (IANS) French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the Left-wing Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia (FARC) would be held responsible if former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt dies in their captivity. “A decision on your part would suffice to save a woman from death and maintain the hope of all those who remain detained. Make this decision: free Ingrid Betancourt,” the French leader said Tuesday in a televised message directed to Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda, chief of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), EFE news agency reported Wednesday.

A dual Colombian-French citizen, Betancourt abducted by FARC in 2002 “is in danger of imminent death, she does not have the strength to survive an interminable captivity,” Sarkozy said.

Several of the six hostages, unilaterally released by the FARC since Jan 1, have reported that Betancourt, 46, is in very poor health.

The president assured Marulanda he would continue working for an exchange of rebel captives for jailed guerrillas, provided the FARC commander first free Betancourt and the other hostages with serious health problems.

The rebel group wants to trade Betancourt and 39 other captives for hundreds of jailed guerrillas.

“Don’t miss the chance presented to you, it would be a grave political error, a humanitarian tragedy, a crime. You would be responsible for the death of a woman,” Sarkozy said, addressing the 77-year-old FARC leader.

Sarkozy made a similar appeal to Marulanda in a broadcast last year on Radio France International and also last month on the Colombian television.

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