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FARC open to talks with Chavez on hostages

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FARC open to talks with Chavez on hostages


The leader of Colombia’s Farc rebel group is reported to have agreed in principle to talks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on the possible release of hostages. A spokesman for Manuel Marulanda told a Mexican newspaper such a meeting was “necessary”.

Chavez said last week after a visit to Bogota that he planned to hold talks in Venezuela with FARC representatives on a proposal to exchange hostages for jailed members of the guerrilla organisation. The militants are holding scores of captives in their jungle hideouts, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. It is understood the talks would focus on an initial exchange of 45 hostages for some 500 militants.

Meanwhile, Colombian authorities are claiming to have killed a senior FARC figure and 16 others a bombing at the weekend. However, his body was not recovered. Tomas Medina is said to have coordinated the group’s drugs smuggling activities.

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