Colombia cancels Chavez-Farc talks
Bogota accuses Venezuela's president of "violating terms of mediation".
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2007 16:34 GMT
Chavez met relatives of Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian politician, on Tuesday [AFP] 
Colombia has said it is cancelling the role of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, in attempting to negotiate the release 45 hostages held by rebel fighters.

The decision came after Chavez spoke to Colombia's army chief in defiance of an order not to talk directly to military leaders, Cesar Mauricio Velasquez, presidential spokesman, said.
Chavez had begun mediating an exchange in August with the permission of Alvaro Uribe, Colombian president.

Hopes were high that he would reach a deal in which the kidnap victims, including Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian politician, would be exchanged for fighters held in government jails.
'Severe setback'
Chavez had spoken with Mario Montoya, Colombia's armed services commander on Wednesday, and requested information about the hostages, according to a government statement.
This violated an agreement between Uribe and Chavez that only the two leaders would hold discussions about hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, the statement said.
"This is a complete setback for any possible hostage exchange.
But Uribe had no choice"

Pablo Casas, security analyst
"This is a complete setback for any possible hostage exchange. But Uribe had no choice," Pablo Casas, an analyst at Security and Democracy, a Bogota think tank, said.
"You cannot accept the president of another country requesting information directly from your top military commander," he said.

"That is totally against protocol."

However, France has urged Colombia to reverse its decision.

"We continue to think that president Chavez is the best chance of securing the release of Ingrid Betancourt and all the other hostages currently held by the Farc in Colombia," David Martinon, a spokesman for the French president, said.
On Tuesday, Chavez held talks with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy on his efforts to secure the release of Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian politician who has been held since 2002.
Military buildup
The decision to end Chavez's mediation is likely to prove a severe setback for any talks between the rebels and Colombia's president, who share a strong mutual dislike.
Uribe's father was killed by Farc rebels nearly two decades ago. The conservative president, in turn, has attempted to defeat the guerrilla army with a US-backed military buildup.
The fighters are holding dozens of high-profile hostages including police officers, former members of congress and provincial governors.
Betancourt was taken during her 2002 presidential campaign.
Three US military contractors, Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves were also captured after their plane crashed during a 2003 anti-drug mission.
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.