Uribe expressed his disappointment that France had turned its back on Colombia, after Uribe’s government agreed to a humanitarian exchange of FARC “foreign minister” Rodrigo Granda – at French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s request – to aid in the liberation of French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt.
The president went on to appeal to France to help Colombia finalize a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union.
During the three hour radio broadcast, Uribe also stressed that his government had made progress in protecting labor and human rights. He asked the international community to be objective in its analysis of Colombia’s human rights record and not to discriminate against the country when adopting international treaties.
Uribe signed an FTA with former U.S. President George W. Bush, but it has been stalled in U.S. Congress due to concerns about ongoing violence against organised labor in Colombia.
The Colombian president also addressed the DAS wiretapping scandal. He reiterated that he did not authorize or know about the illegal wiretapping of prominent Colombia judges, politicians, trade unionists and journalists
However he said that if it were proved that the government had ordered the wiretappings, then they would accept responsibility.
Uribe is serving his last few months as Colombian president. The Constitutional Court last Friday found a proposed referendum to allow his re-election to be unconstitutional. Uribe has not officially stated which presidential candidate he would like to see succeed him.