Chavez urges Betancourt release

Venezuela says it was discussing her freedom with Farc before leader was killed.

Chavez and Uribe
Chavez and Uribe reined in their diplomatic standoff after meeting at Latin American summit [AFP]
“It doesn’t make sense to keep her in the jungles of Colombia.”

The Venezuelan president was joined for the speech in Caracas by Yolanda Pulecio, Betancourt’s motherو and Piedad Cordoba, a Colombian senator that has mediated with Farc.

Chavez has said that he and Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president, had been working with Reyes to have Betancourt released through Ecuador.

High-profile hostages 

Betancourt is among about 40 high-profile hostages, including three US nationals, whom the Farc want to exchange for 500 rebels being held in Colombian prisons.

France has been pushing Colombia to try to negotiate the release of Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate, who was abducted six years ago and has liver ailments and depression.

Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador agreed on Friday at a summit of Latin American nations to end the crisis that had seen angry exchanges and Caracas move troops to the border.

At the summit, Correa said: “With the commitment of never attacking a brother country again and by asking forgiveness, we can consider this very serious incident resolved.”

He then shook hands with Alvaro Uribe, Colombia’s president.

However, Correa said on Saturday that it would difficult to recover trust in the Bogota government.

“We’ll talk about renewing diplomatic relations. We’ll make a timetable. “It’s going to take some time,” he said.

Uribe has accused his neighbours of supporting fighters seeking to overthrow his government.
Source: News Agencies