France recalls Íngrid Betancourt mission

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cristina Fernández, Astrid Betancourt, and Lorenzo Delloy march for the liberation of Íngrid Betancourt in Argentina on April 6, 2008.
Image: Presidencia de la N. Argentina.

France is recalling the mission it recently sent to Colombia in hopes of freeing Íngrid Betancourt, who is a hostage of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"The French medical mission isn't appropriate and much less so when it's not the result of an agreement," a FARC statement said. "Ingrid Betancourt and soldiers and the jailed guerrillas would now have regained their freedom and it would be a victory for everyone," said the statement dated the day after the French team landed. The only condition would have been that Álvaro Uribe had agreed to a 45-day demilitarized zone, according to the statement.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said in a statement that he is "deeply disappointed" he was unable to save Betancourt, who holds both French and Colombian citizenships.

"He wants to assure our compatriot's family — as well as those of all the hostages — that his determination to win their liberation remains as strong as ever," the statement continued.

FARC has been seeking to exchange 39 high-profile hostages for some 500 rebels currently in Colombian prisons. Colombian President Álvaro Uribe has consistently rejected this trade.

Recently, however, Colombia has promised to suspend military strikes against FARC in the regions where hostages are believed to be held.