No unilateral release of hostages: FARC

June 14th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Bogota, June 14 (IANS) The leftwing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has rejected an appeal by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to free its hostages, EFE reported. In a message posted Friday on a website having ties with the rebel group, the FARC said it would release the hostages only in exchange for the hundreds of its cadres in Colombian jails.

The message was the rebel group’s first reaction to Chavez’s appeal last weekend to FARC that it should free its hostages “in exchange for nothing”.

The insurgent outfit is holding dozens of high-value hostages, the most prominent of them being former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three US military contractors.

Besides, FARC is holding hundreds of Colombian soldiers and members of the police force.

Chavez had said: “The time has come for the FARC to release all the hostages it is holding.” He offered his mediation to facilitate the transfer.

“It (releasing the hostages) would be a great gesture, in exchange for nothing. That’s what I’m suggesting now that there’s a new (FARC) chief,” Chavez said.

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