The Colombian government Wednesday recognized that negotiations with the FARC over the liberation of hostages are at a standstill but said the guerrilla organization was to blame, as it refuses to announce the release of 24 hostages.
“We can accept staggered releases of the hostages, but the FARC still haven’t said that they will release all 24,” said said Frank Pearl, Colombian High Commissioner for Peace. “It’s up to the FARC to say that they will release the hostages,” he said.
The Commissioner was referring to the stalemate in negotiations which occurred because the government and the FARC are unable to reach a compromise on the terms of the hostage release. The government demands a guarantee that 24 hostages will be released while the FARC demand the release of jailed guerrillas in return.
The Commissioner said that once the guerrillas accepted the government’s terms, the rest of the operation could be coordinated in five minutes, Caracol Radio reported Wednesday.
Pearl’s statement follows a call by the head of the Catholic Church to the government Tuesday to expediate the process of hostage negotaitions with the FARC, which have been deadlocked for over six months.