FARC Agrees to Release Kidnapped General, Peace Talks to Resume
EspañolThe Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have reached an agreement on conditions for the release of General Ruben Dario Alzate, who rebels kidnapped on Sunday.
“Those kidnapped will be freed as soon as possible,” said Rodolfo Benítez and Rita Sandberg, representatives of Cuba and Norway, respectively, in a joint statement on Wednesday.
Their statement indicated that all three of the individuals the FARC kidnapped on November 16, including Corporal Jorge Rodríguez and the lawyer Gloria Urrego, will be released. In addition, two soldiers who the FARC captured on November 9, after an armed confrontation in Arauca, César Rivera and Jonathan Díaz, will also be freed.
Sandberg and Benitez congratulated the Colombian government and the FARC for its “constructive attitude” during the peace process. They pledged to continue contributing to the negotiations “in order to reach a final agreement that will put an end to the conflict, and build an enduring peace in Colombia.”
The release of the five prisoners will be carried out under conditions similar to the others “agreed upon for other types of operations within the framework of the peace process,” the statement added.
The FARC stated that they did not receive any benefits for the release of the two prisoners, and that this step is a “contribution towards generating a climate of more peaceful dialogue.”
FARC’s kidnapping of Alzate, the highest ranking military officer ever captured by the rebels, caused President Santos to suspend negotiations with the guerrilla in Havana, jeopardizing years of negotiation to end Colombia’s civil war.
“The government will give its total collaboration to guarantee the safe return of these people to their homes, which we hope will be in the shortest time possible,” said the president in response to the release.
“Once they are all free, the government’s delegation will return to Havana.”