Kouchner ‘not optimistic’ about Betancourt release

May 2nd, 2008 - 6:01 pm ICT by admin  

Paris, May 2 (DPA) French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Friday he was not optimistic that Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, kidnapped by Colombia’s leftist insurgents, would be released soon. Asked about the chances that the rebels holding the former Colombian presidential candidate would release her in the near future, Kouchner told RTL radio: “I am not very optimistic.”

Kouchner has just returned from a trip to South America during which he met the presidents of Colombia, Venezuela and Equator, Alvaro Uribe, Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa, who are involved in efforts to release Betancourt.

The 46-year-old Betancourt, who has dual French and Colombian nationality, was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Feb 23, 2002, while campaigning as the Green Party candidate for the Colombian presidency.

The FARC have demanded the release of dozens of their own rebels from Colombian prisons in exchange for freeing Betancourt.

During his campaign for the French presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to make her release a top foreign policy priority of his government.

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