France to receive Colombian guerrillas to be exchanged for hostages

March 30th, 2008 - 2:10 pm ICT by admin  

Bogota, March 30 (IANS) Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has said that his government will set free jailed rebel guerrillas in exchange for hostages released by them, and France is ready to receive the freed rebels, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Sunday. In a visit to the southern province of Guaviare, where some of the hostages of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are believed to be held, the Colombian president Saturday called on the guerrillas to demobilize and to release their captives, while offering them judicial guarantees that they will be rewarded.

“The guerrilla who brings hostages with him and releases them, that guerrilla is not going to jail. For that guerrilla we will seek a judicial mechanism for him to be free,” Uribe said.

On Friday, Uribe said he would pay the amount from a fund of $100 million for the release of hostages, including former politician Ingrid Betancourt, many of whom were held by the group for several years.

“I call on the FARC to release them … You will receive rewards: we are going to resolve the juridical problems of the imprisoned rebels and we guarantee their release,” Uribe said Friday.

Betancourt, former Colombian presidential candidate, was kidnapped by FARC in 2002. Residents in the southeastern Guaviare province said that some priests have seen Betancourt who is reportedly very ill.

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