The Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has told Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez he is no longer allowed to negotiate with FARC rebels. Chavez had been invited to help secure the release of 45 Colombian hostages, including Franco- Colombian captive Ingrid Betancourt. Chavez flew to France this week and apparently discussed a possible face-to-face meeting in Martinique with members of FARC, where he would have offered the release of 500 rebel prisoners in Colombian jails.
But it’s understood Mr Chavez has angered his Colombian counterpart by telephoning the head of the Colombian army, General Mario Montoya, directly, to discuss the hostage issue, something Alvaro Uribe had expressly forbidden him to do. Chavez had been given until next month to try to facilitate the prisoner swop.
Ingrid Betancourt was preparing to run for the Presidency when she was taken by FARC rebels in 2003. President Chavez has been trying to obtain proof that she is still alive.