The International Committee of the Red Cross initiated contact with leftist senator Piedad Cordoba and the high commissioner for peace, Frank Pearl, to propitiate the announcement of the release of two FARC hostages.
The head of the ICRC delegation, Christophe Beney, said that they are in permanent contact with all involved parties and from Tuesday will begin meeting to clarify political issues, reported news source Terra.
“We need to clarify details and will be doing so from today in meetings with the senator, the peace commissioner, and the Catholic Church in order to solve any [remaining] political issues to ensure that the day of liberation is not impeded,” Beney said.
Commissioner Pearl and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe met Saturday in Bogota with relatives of soldiers and policemen kidnapped by the FARC. At the request of the family members, the government undertook to facilitate the unilateral release offered by the guerrillas, without requiring them to simultaneously deliver all of their hostages. Previously, the government would only accept the release of all or none of the hostages held by the FARC, but are now willing to negotiate more flexibly.
The head of the Red Cross in Colombia, Beney stressed that his contact with the FARC to facilitate the releases is “very indirect”, and that Senator Cordoba is the strongest link to the guerrilla group.
The FARC announced months ago its willingness to unilaterally release army corporal Pablo Emilio Moncayo, captured nearly 12 years ago, and soldier Josué Daniel Calvo, as well as delivery of the body of Julian Guevara, who died while captive. The deliveries were to be made to Senator Cordoba, which President Uribe authorized on 8 July.
However, Uribe demanded the simultaneous release of 24 security forces personnel held by the FARC, which they wished to exchange for imprisoned rebels.