A suspension of Colombia’s peace talks is close to coming to an end as foreign guarantors of the talks announced Wednesday that the FARC will release a captured army general and four others.
FACT SHEET: Peace talks
The announcement was made by the member of the Delegation of Guarantors of Norway at a press conference in Havana, Cuba where the talks are held.
“The necessary conditions for the liberation of the following persons have been agreed by the parties,” said the Norwegian guarantor Rita Santberg.
Among the released are army General Ruben Dario Alzate Mora, Corporal Jorge Rodriguez and attorney Gloria Guerrero who were captured on Sunday when they, ignoring all protocol, entered FARC territory unarmed, in civilian and without any security precautions.
Rebels that found the general and his accompaniment in the village of Las Mercedes, Choco and were able to detain him without to use of force, locals have claimed.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos suspended ongoing peace talks with rebel group FARC, hours after the guerrillas had detained a general in western Colombia.
Soldiers Cesar Rivera and Jonathan Diaz were captured in combat earlier.
The president demanded the immediate release of the kidnapped officials and the attorney, and suspended the talk until the captives were freed.
The FARC earlier Wednesday confirmed the captivity and announced a decision would come.
The president then toned down, said he ” wished to continue the talks” and asked the guarantors to mediate the release, which they successfully did within hours.
The Red Cross has been put in charge to coordinate the release of the captives, which is expected to have taken place in days.
The kidnapping, announced by former President and Senator Alvaro Uribe before the Ministry of Defense, is the biggest capture of a Colombian army general in the history of the conflict. The President and other political leaders have expressed annoyance about the “imprudence” of the general.
However, opposition leaders also criticized the President. Left senators disagreed the kidnapping provided merit to suspend peace talks, while the conservative opposition demanded the condition of the talks to be renegotiated.