French minister to go to Colombia to lobby for hostage

April 26th, 2008 - 1:17 pm ICT by admin  

Paris, April 26 (DPA) French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is to travel to South America Monday to lobby for the release of Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, who has been held hostage for years by leftist rebels. Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate, holds dual French-Colombian citizenship and is the most high-profile hostage held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Kouchner is to meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Monday, the foreign ministry in Paris said. On Tuesday he will travel to Quito to meet with Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, and Wednesday he will meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who once served as a mediator to secure hostages’ release.

Kouchner is to discuss the release of FARC-held hostages and the three South American nations’ relationship to Europe, as well as France’s desire to see a normalisation in the neighbours’ relations.

A cross border raid by Colombian forces into Ecuador to kill a FARC leader soured relations between Colombia and its neighbours.

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