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.