Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said on Friday the International Red
Cross was optimistic about the imminent release of hostages, and he
hoped an amnesty would lead to the freeing of all those still held.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is involved in
coordinating the release of six hostages on Sunday by leftist Colombian
rebels, their first release of captives from jungle camps in a year.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, offered last month
to free two local politicians and four members of the security forces
but negotiations had dragged.
Uribe was speaking after he met
the head of the ICRC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum
meeting in Switzerland.
“His prediction about release of some of the hostages was optimistic,” Uribe told a news conference.
Uribe said the government was making progress in its fight against FARC and appealed for more releases.
“We want all hostages to be released,” he said. “Those FARC guerrillas
who demobilise, who release hostages, they will be given freedom, they
will be given an award.”
The planned release would be the first voluntary move by the rebels since February 2008.
It is also the first such gesture since Colombia’s military dealt the
FARC a severe blow in July with the daring rescue of high-profile
captives Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans.
rebels were already reeling from a U.S.-backed military offensive by
President Alvaro Uribe, the loss of three top commanders and scores of
desertions over the last year. (Reuters)