Pope receives ex-hostage Betancourt

September 1st, 2008 - 7:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Castel Gandolfo (Italy), Sep 1 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI Monday received former hostage Ingrid Betancourt, who since she was liberated in July, had expressed a desire to thank the pontiff in person for his support.The Franco-Colombian Betancourt, accompanied by her mother, Yolanda Pulecio, met Benedict for private talks at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

Pulecio had met Benedict in January when the pontiff made one of his several appeals for the release of hostages in Colombia where leftist insurgents kept Betancourt hostage for over six years.

Betancourt, a devout Catholic, has said she prayed the rosary daily during her long captivity. She and 14 other hostages where liberated by Colombian special forces July 2.

Betancourt arrived in Italy Sunday when she met former Rome mayor Walter Veltroni who during his tenure at city hall had made her an honorary citizen of the Italian capital.

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