French president offers to facilitate exchange of Colombian prisoners for hostages.
|Rojas’s mother Clara Gonzalez said “this is the
moment I have waited for” [EPA]
“I was warned that the release could take place or that Farc could announce the release of a group of hostages,” he said.
Last year, Colombian journalist Jorge Enrique Botero said in a book that Rojas, an aide to Betancourt, had given birth to a baby boy, Emmanuel, following a relationship with one of her captors.
Colombia‘s government said it was reserving judgment on the Farc statement.
|Colombia recently seized videos that appeared
to prove Betancourt was alive [AFP]
Luis Carlos Restrepo, Colombia’s peace commissioner, said the government did “not think it prudent … to make any statements for now as on previous occasions the Farc has announced such releases without them happening”.
Uribe has repeatedly rejected this proposal but news of the hostage release may renew pressure on him to relent.
Uribe called off Chavez’s mediation effort after accusing him of speaking to Colombia’s army chief in defiance of an order not to talk directly to military leaders.
to be a nice Christmas gift, especially for the families of these people”
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president
This dealt a blow to hopes that the hostages would be freed in exchange for fighters held in government jails.
Al Jazeera’s Mariana Sanchez in Caracas said that even if the prisoners were handed over to Chavez it would not necessarily mean that he would resume his role as mediator.
“The Farc rebels have said in the past that they would want to negotiate with President Hugo Chavez … Farc has the same ideology as Hugo Chavez and they trust him,” she said.
Uribe’s father was killed by Farc rebels nearly two decades ago. He has, in turn, attempted to defeat the rebels using a US-backed military force.
Farc is holding dozens of high-profile hostages including police officers, former members of congress and provincial governors.