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Colombian president supports ex-senator's hostage rescue efforts

12-15-2010 10:02 BJT

BOGOTA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Tuesday confirmed he would help former Senator Piedad Cordoba's bid to free five hostages taken by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels.

A statement from the president's spokesman said Santos and Cordoba "agreed that in order to guarantee success in this handover process, it will take place with complete discretion."

The statement said Santos had named Eduardo Pizarro Leongomez to act as the "representative (of the Colombian government) in the release of the hostages."

"The national government hopes that the release announced by the FARC will take place as soon as possible," the statement said, without giving details about the date or place of the release.

On Dec. 8, FARC leaders announced that they would free five hostages, including three officials from the police, army, and navy, and two other regional officials, as a friendly gesture to Cordoba.

Previously, the government had approved Cordoba's intervention, but only on the condition of complete discretion and the presence of a government representative.

If the release takes place, it would be the first one under the Santos administration of Santo that took office on Aug. 7. Since he ran for president, Santos has urged the FARC to stop kidnapping and free all hostages.

The FARC is the oldest guerrilla group in Latin America and is holding about 20 hostages, some of them captured more than 10 years ago.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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