Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said Colombia did not want the international community involved in negotiations, but did not rule out the use of Brazil as a “guarantor” — a term used to describe a neutral third party who is present during a hostage handover to ensure it takes place in the agreed manner.
Pinzon said, “One would prefer that Colombian planes are used for these releases. If they want to liberate these people, if there truly is this will, we could send aeroplanes tomorrow to collect them.”
Pinzon said hostages would be on the agenda during his upcoming visit to Brazil, where he will meet counterpart Celso Amorim and Brazilian Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo.
Meanwhile, Radio Caracol reported that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had maintained his bullish stance on the Farc, stating at the end of a security council meeting in Florencia, Caqueta, “The government has no indication at this time, no manifestation that can convince us of the goodwill of the other party in reaching a peace agreement.”
Santos has repeatedly stated that no negotiations can commence before hostages are released. He emphasized during his speech in Florencia that the security forces would maintain a stong course of action as long as the Farc made no such efforts.
On the subject of the six hostages, Pinzon said, “It is unfair that the Farc continues to torture the families of these officials, considering they tell us nothing. We can only coordinate with the International Red Cross and friendly governments, as has happened with Brazil, and be ready to bring these people back to their families as soon as possible.”
The release of the six prisoners was promised by the rebels last month, and is scheduled for the coming weeks. The men are part of a group of ten security force personnel who have been in the Farc’s custody for more than a decade.
Pinzon also laid out his desire to implement a greater level of coordination and training between the armed forces of the two countries, which share a thousand mile jungle border, along which the Farc are known to operate.