“We are satisfied that these Colombian officials, some of which were unjustly held for 14 years by the FARC, are now free and have been reunited with their families,” said Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson.
The guerrillas should not stop there, she added. The U.S. supported Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in his Monday call to the FARC to “renounce all violence and criminality and liberate all the hostages which remain in their power, as essential conditions for advancing towards a lasting peace.”
Nuland said, “I believe [Santos] defined [the release] as something positive but insufficient. And rightly, we also want to see more advances in this respect.”
The U.S. official recognized the “positive role” the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Brazilian government had played in Monday’s release operation.
Asked whether she believed the FARC was attempting to gain the support of other Latin American governments, Nuland said the U.S. “had historically had concerns about this issue. I don’t think these concerns have changed.”
The four soldiers and six police, some of whom had been in captivity for 14 years, were released in central Colombia following months of negotiations between the country’s largest guerrilla group, mediators and the government.
They were the last of the security force hostages being held by the FARC, but an unknown number of civilians, thought to be in the hundreds, remain in captivity.