Colombia urged to facilitate Betancourt’s release

April 7th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by admin  

Paris, April 7 (IANS) Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez has urged Colombia to remove obstacles to secure the release of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, in captivity of leftist insurgents. “People who are responsible for leading the democratic institutions and facilitating the current humanitarian programme must share a bigger responsibility for her release,” Fernandez said, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Monday.

Betancourt, 46, who was abducted by Colombia’s largest insurgency group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) during an election campaign in 2002, is reportedly very ill.

Last month, a priest in the southern Colombian province of Guaviare claimed that he had seen Betancourt visiting a local clinic for treatment in February.

On Sunday, the Argentine president urged the FARC to release Betancourt, who holds dual Colombian-French citizenship.

Fernandez arrived in Paris Sunday to discuss Betancourt’s release with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

She also attended a march in the French capital to demand her release by the FARC.

Last week an international humanitarian relief team led by France was sent to Colombia to provide medical help for ailing Betancourt, though the team is yet to establish contact with her.

Spain and Switzerland are also participating in the mission. Her family said she has hepatitis B.

On Thursday, the Colombian president Avaro Uribe signed a decree approving the release the jailed guerrillas but insisted at the same time the first move must come from the FARC.

In response, the FARC said it had unilaterally released some of its hostages as a humanitarian move and Betancourt would be released after their jailed cadres were set free.

In February, the group released six of their hostages, including Betancourt’s running mate Clara Rojas, following intervention of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The US and the European Union has designated FARC as a foreign terrorist organisation. The group has around 10,000 armed rebels.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |