Colombian president Alvaro Uribe on Sunday opened the doors to a possible humanitarian exchange with the FARC in order to secure the release of the remaining hostages in FARC custody.
According to Uribe, his government is “not against a humanitarian exchange provided that the released FARC fighters do not return to the FARC,” reports Caracol Radio, adding that “a humanitarian agreement is not to strengthen terrorism, but to liberate the Colombians from terrorist actions.”
The president noted, however, that “good faith” must be established prior to negotiations, referring to the car bomb attack last week in Pacific coastal town of Buenaventura that killed nine.
“To move forward with peace agreements in the midst of car bombs is taking a bow to terrorism.. The first thing needed for an agreement is good faith….And that a key signal of good faith ceasing all criminal activity.”
Uribe’s statements, made after a security meeting in department of Arauca, came a few hours after the FARC released hostage Josue Daniel Calvo
Last week, liberal opposition Senator and key player in the hostage release efforts, Piedad Cordoba, announced that the FARC is ready to sit down and negotiate with the Colombian government without the precondition of establishing a demilitarized zone, urging the govenrment to enter into a dialogue with the FARC to discuss a possible prisoner exchange deal.
It is estimated that the FARC still have about 23 hostages in their custody.