The president also refuted ELN claims that the two recently kidnapped Germans were spies.
“Now the ELN come to us with the story that the two Germans….were kidnapped because they were spies…this is an excuse that nobody in their right mind would believe or accept, because it is a lie,” said Santos.
“We demand that the ELN release them, as they recognize that they have them…only the ELN are responsible to the world for the lives of these two Germans.”
However he made it clear that there would not be any military rescue operation, for fear of “putting at risk the lives of the hostages.”
Instead, Santos stated that Colombian security forces had already captured seven ELN members responsible for the kidnapping, and gave them the option of cooperating with the Red Cross.
“We are offering to send the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] because do not want to attempt an operation that would put the hostages lives at risk,” continued Santos.
The ELN has repeatedly requested their inclusion in peace talks with the government. The kidnappings have been cited as an attempt to force the government to accede to this request.