Colombian president in FARC talks

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Colombian president in FARC talks

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Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has agreed to name a location for talks aimed at freeing hostages being held by FARC rebels.

But he did not agree to withdraw troops from any area despite the guerrillas demands for a demilitarized zone.

They want soldiers pulled out of a large rural region to facilitate talks.

During an address in Bogota, the president said:

“The Catholic Church and the National Commission for Reconciliation have proposed a meeting zone. The government has signalled its intention to accept, with a number of points to be taken into account. It should not exceed 150 square kilometres.”

He went on to say that the rebels would not be allowed to bring arms into the area. It would have to be a sparsely populated place and there would have to be international observers, he added.

The talks would be aimed at exchanging some 500 FARC prisoners for scores of hostages, including French/Colombian former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

Last week the Colombian government released videos of Betancourt and other captives, sparking an outcry over their plight.