Correa, speaking in Paris following a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, offered his “unconditional” assistance in France’s bid to win the freedom of one of the hostages, Ingrid Betancourt, who holds French and Colombian citizenship. She is among hundreds being held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.”If Ecuador’s mediation is needed, if Ecuador’s territory is needed for the liberation of the hostages, we’ll be there,” Correa told reporters outside Paris’ Elysee presidential palace.Correa, a leftist, lashed out at conservative Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, accusing him of a smear campaign against Ecuador.Relations between the two nations have been strained since earlier this year when Colombia launched a cross-border raid on a FARC camp in Ecuador, killing senior rebel Raul Reyes and two dozen others. Uribe has said documents from a computer seized in the raid show the FARC gave money to Correa’s 2006 presidential campaign.Correa, who has denied the allegations, broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia over the March 1 raid.Sarkozy has made winning the liberation of Betancourt a priority since taking office last year.
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