The Colombian government on Wednesday announced the terms under which humanitarian exchanges of FARC hostages for guerrillas imprisoned in Colombia and the U.S. would be permitted to take place, reported CM&.
The FARC Tuesday released a statement saying that the liberation of hostage Pablo Emilio Moncayo was its last unilateral release, and that from now on the guerrilla organization would only participate in exchanges of hostages for detained members of the FARC.
Speaking on behalf of the Colombian government, the country’s peace commissioner, Frank Pearl, said that if the exchanges do occur they must involve direct contact between FARC members and authorities, and they must exclude the release of guerillas detained in the U.S.
Pearl also explained that negotiations must not be carried out publicly, as in the case of the release operations for hostages Moncayo and Calvo, but rather that the government should “work directly and discreetly.”
“What we cannot do is carry out the liberations so openly, because that way we wont get very far,” said the official, who mediated in negotiations for the release of Moncayo and fellow captive Josue Daniel Calvo, who the FARC released last Sunday.
One of the operation’s other mediators, Senator Piedad Cordoba has publicly agitated for a humanitarian exchange and in an interview with El Tiempo on Thursday announced that she will travel to Europe in search of “allies and human right’s workers” who may support the new system.
Saying that she has received invitations to meet with the governments of Spain, France, Switzerland and Sweden, Cordoba announced that she will use the support of these European nations to push Colombian authorities to go ahead with the humanitarian exchanges.
Cordoba stressed the necessity for negotiating parties that are neither in the Colombian government nor the FARC, that can participate in the exchanges from an impartial perspective.
“Here they believe in the fact that peace cannot exist unless it is between the government and the guerrillas. But that is forgetting those of us who are not in the war, nor in the government and we are demanding peace,” said the senator.
Senator Cordoba will travel to Europe next week, carrying out a fifteen day tour of the continent in order to gather support for the humanitarian exchange of FARC hostages for detained guerrillas.