Colombia’s government will not allow a resumption of Sunday’s failed hostage releases until it meets with the Red Cross, it said in a press release Monday morning.
“The national government is waiting to meet with the International Committee of the Red Cross to receive all the information about what happened happened in the day yesterday and only after that will [it] make a decision regarding the release operation,” it added.
Minutes earlier, the Red Cross’ delegate in Colombia, Christophe Beney, told Caracol Radio that the government had authorized the humanitarian mission to resume efforts to recover the hostages.
“The operation will begin today because I have to meet with the defense minister to give him the [coordinates of] the region in a rural area in Cauca that needs to be demilitarized,” Beney told Caracol.
Beney added that at some point on Monday, the Brazilian helicopters will transfer from Ibague, the base of Sunday’s operations, to Cali in order to commence the next release mission.
According to the government’s representative, the hostages were not at the agreed location, but in a different department.
The FARC’s failure to deliver the hostages led to furious reactions by the government.
“The FARC failed the country with what happened. First with the two-month delay in delivery and second with the proceedings yesterday … If the guerrillas had the intention they could have left them at any road in the country, in charge of the community. They will have to return them all,” Vice President Angelino Garzon said.
Christophe Beney of the Red Cross has apologized for comments he made earlier saying the release operation will happen on Monday.
Speaking to Caracol Radio, he said, “there is a green light to start managing the operation, but not to start the operation. It is a question of interpretation. I apologize for my statements this morning.”
He added that he expects a positive response from the government when he meets with them later on Monday.