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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Bogota prêt à un échange humanitaire ?

by B. D.

Is Bogota ready for a humanitarian exchange ?

Translated Friday 4 April 2008, by Susannah Readett-Bayley

Columbia. The government is considering the release of guerrilla prisoners in exchange for Ingrid Betancourt.

Columbia has proposed to release several hundred guerrillas in exchange for the release of Ingrid Betancourt, held in captivity since February 2002 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), according to a decree signed on Thursday evening by the president Alvaro Uribe. “The legal proceedings for a humanitarian exchange have begun and we are keeping demands to a minimum”, said Luis Carlos Restrepo, Columbia’s high commissioner for peace. Bogota has also confirmed that the Franco-Columbian senator is seriously ill with the Hepatitis B virus and that she requires medical care urgently.

“I’m wary of taking this too seriously, at the moment it appears more like just words than a serious proposition” said Fabrice Delloye, Inrid Betancourt’s former husband on Europe 1. What about the creation of the non-militarised zone that the FARC were demanding before the exchange went ahead? President Uribe, who has constantly remained opposed to this demand, has not answered this question.

Whatever the outcome, Columbia’s proposition has been welcomed by France which encouraged the FARC yesterday to “grab this opportunity immediately”. The International Federation of Ingrid Betancourt Committees sees “cause for hope”. Protest walks will be organised all over France on April 6th by the Ingrid Bentancourt support committee, to increase pressure to save her from this unbearable situation.

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