The Colombian Government Monday reiterated its demand that the FARC release all members of the security forces they have in captivity at once and immediately and not a few at a time.
According to the Government’s High Peace Commissioner, Frank Pearl, the rebels should release all hostages at once, immediately and unconfitionally, because “we want this to move forward, not to go back. We can not reward the FARC to continue kidnapping.”
The Government was asked by opposition senator Piedad Cordoba, the Catholic Church and the Red Cross to compromise after the FARC announced the release of two members of the security forces. The release of these hostages is now on hold because of the Goverment’s demand to release all hostages at once and the FARC’s refusal to do so.
Both the Church and the Red Cross have tried mediating between the Uribe administration and Cordoba, who is accused by the Government of being a FARC ally, but the Government will not talk to the senator, Pearl said.
According to the High Peace Commissioner, the only thing missing for progress in the hostages’ release is “the willingness of the FARC.”
The FARC is holding 24 soldiers and policemen captive that the rebels want to exchange for guerrillas in Colombian and U.S. prisons. The country’s largest rebel group is also suspected of having a few hundred civilian hostages for extortion purposes.