She was rescued on Wednesday by the Colombian military after spending six years in the hands of leftist guerrillas in jungle hide-outs.Addressing France, she said: “Extraordinary people took part in this operation. They weren’t armed. There wasn’t even one bullet fired. So I think that we succeeded in achieving the impossible.”It’s now important for me to tell you how much I love you and show you how much I owe you. I have cried a lot. Today they are tears of joy – before they were tears of pain.”President Sarkozy said: “France loves you and welcomes you back.”Mr Sarkozy has fought for her liberation since he took office, pushing for negotiations with her captors, and urging the Colombian authorities to avoid any military action.He had made freeing Betancourt a foreign policy priority.But her visit could be overshadowed by a domestic political spat between Sarkozy and his rival Segolene Royal.Royal said: “Everyone knows that this well-executed Colombian operation proves that negotiations with the FARC (guerrillas) were useless and fruitless.”Any controversy or political gain would be totally out of place because Nicolas Sarkozy had absolutely nothing to do with her liberation,” she added.Betancourt has captured the hearts of the French people over the past six years, who have staged countless marches and demonstrations on her behalf.Pope Benedict has announced that he will receive Betancourt as soon as his schedule allows – another man who campaigned for her release. (SKY)
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