Colombian Peace Commissioner Frank Pearl said Friday that he felt it was a “shame” that opposition Senator Piedad Cordoba uses her credibility with the FARC for “political purposes,” reports Colombian media.
“The senator has a very valuable asset, which is the credibility of the FARC in these subjects,” the commissioner told Caracol Radio, “but it is a shame that she uses it for political purposes and this makes her lose credibility, and I think that if it was not done in this manner, we could have benefited more in resolving the issue of the hostages.”
Pearl went on to say that the Colombian government would not act on Cordoba‘s recommendations that Uribe authorize a “humanitarian exchange” of FARC hostages for incarcerated guerrillas, as it would interfere with the political interests of the country.
According to the peace commissioner, the Colombian government has attempted to communicate with the FARC, but the guerrilla group has shown reluctance to meet.
“A letter that I myself sent to the FARC, after many months of discussion about how to resolve the issue of the hostages in Colombia, unfortunately the response from the FARC is that they do not want to meet with the government,” said Pearl.
The peace commissioner was speaking in response to a letter sent by Cordoba to the president asking him to carry out a prisoner swap before his term ends on August 7.
In the letter, Cordoba said that a prisoner exchange should be seen as a political and ethical necessity of Colombian democracy, not as demonstrating the government’s weakness. The senator said the exchange would be “a useful tool to put an end to the pain of the families and the members of the police and the army who remain kidnapped by the FARC.”
Cordoba, a former FARC hostage release negotiator, is one of the main advocates of a prisoner exchange to release hostages held by the guerrilla group.