Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, T.D., on rescue of hostages in Colombia
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D., has warmly welcomed the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and fourteen other hostages in Colombia.
The Minister said;
“I would like to congratulate the Government of Colombia on the successful operation to rescue Ingrid Betancourt and the three American hostages and eleven Colombian soldiers who were being held with her by the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). It is a source of joy to us all that Ingrid Betancourt’s two children are being reunited with her.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the support campaigns, in Colombia and around the world, including here in Ireland, which have brought attention to the plight of Ingrid Betancourt and the other hostages being held by armed groups in Colombia.
In an all-party motion on 10th April 2008, Seanad Éireann called for the release of all the hostages in Colombia. Today, I want to strongly reiterate the call for the unconditional release of all hostages held by the FARC and other guerrilla groups in Colombia.
It is time, in particular, for the FARC to come to the negotiating
table, to reach a humanitarian agreement to release all the
remaining hostages and to end the armed conflict. I hope that
the release of Ingrid Betancourt and her fellow captives marks a
decisive step on the road to peace in Colombia.
Note to editors:
The FARC, a left-wing Colombian guerrilla group which derives much of its funding from illegal narcotics, has been severely weakened in recent months. Its leader Pedro Antonio Marin, also known as Manuel Marulanda Velez, was said by FARC to have died in May 2008 of a heart attack, while two other members of its seven-member ruling secretariat, Raul Reyes and Ivan Rios, were both killed in military operations earlier in 2008. However, the FARC still controls large parts of rural Colombia and there are an estimated 700 hostages are still held by the FARC and other guerrilla groups in Colombia.Top