The rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has agreed to release at least 12 hostages in Ecuador in early March, Ecuadoran Internal and Foreign Security Minister Gustavo Larrea said Thursday.
"Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and French President Nicolas Sarkozy separately knew about Ecuador's mediation to liberate 12 hostages, including French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt," Larrea told local television.
FARC has agreed to free former Colombian presidential candidate Betancourt, three US advisors, four policemen, three Colombian soldiers and an Ecuadoran citizen, Larrea said.
"We immediately passed that information to the French embassy."
The minister said he told Uribe in December that Ecuador was going to work for the release of the 12 hostages.
Larrea said he had spoken to FARC spokesman Edgar Devia alias "Raul Reyes", who was killed Saturday in a Colombian military attack, and formally asked him for the release of Betancourt and the 11 other hostages.
Reyes responded weeks afterward that FARC would free them in Ecuador between March 3 and 14.
(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2008)