Conditions Set for FARC to Release Hostages
By Dialogo March 12, 2012
The Colombian government stated on March 8, following a meeting with delegates from Brazil and from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), that the security conditions are in place for the FARC guerrilla group to free ten uniformed personnel it committed to releasing in February.
“On the part of the Colombian government, the Brazilian government, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, all the conditions are already in place for the release of those kidnapped,” Deputy Defense Minister Jorge Bedoya told reporters after the meeting.
Bedoya stressed that the Colombian government remains ready to guarantee the conditions for the release of the uniformed personnel.
“We already have the protocol worked out, and we’re waiting for the hostages to be released,” he reiterated.
The meeting was held at ICRC headquarters in the Colombian capital, where Brazil’s ambassador to Colombia, Antonino Mena, was present due to the fact that his country will facilitate the logistical means for the hostages, some of whom have been in the FARC’s power for over 12 years, to return to their homes.
In that regard, Bedoya expressed the Colombian government’s gratitude for Brazil’s collaboration and commitment in facilitating the process of release, as it has done on previous occasions.
The Brazilian government will collaborate in these operations with two helicopters and one plane, according to what AFP was recently told by a Brazilian Defense Ministry spokesperson.
On February 26, the leadership of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist guerrilla group, confirmed that it will free the last ten police and military personnel whom it says it holds captive, at the same time that it announced its renunciation of using kidnapping as a financing method.
According to former senator Piedad Córdoba, who has acted as a mediator in previous releases, the release of the hostages could take place in late March, depending on the security conditions and whether the necessary logistics are ready.