Chavez wants to talk with FARC rebels on hostages

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Chavez wants to talk with FARC rebels on hostages

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he wants to hold talks on Colombian soil with the head of the FARC guerrilla group Manual Marulanda for an exchange of hostages for guerrilla prisoners.

But Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has responded with a clear no.

“Don’t make me go over this again. You know my position on this matter,” he said.

The Colombian president, an ally of the US, has taken a hard line on the rebels.
He has repeatedly vowed the government will not cede an inch of territory to the FARC.

The rebels hold several hundred hostages,including three US defence contractors and former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

She holds Colombian and French citizenship.

Chavez says he has been in telephone contact with French President Nicolas Sarkozy requesting that the French leader accompany him to Colombia in an effort to gain the release of Betancourt and others.

Colombia’s High Commission for Peace says a meeting in the jungle between Chavez and Marulanda is not a viable proposition.