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Colombia still trying to rescue FARC hostages: president
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Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Wednesday that his country is still trying to rescue hostages being held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as bargaining chips in attempt to bring about the release of jailed FARC rebels.


"Colombia wants to seek mechanisms to rescue the hostages, and we need the international community's help to do that," Uribe said in a public speech.


Uribe, who had previously indicated that 2007 would be the year of armed rescues, recently barred his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez from mediating in hostage negotiations with FARC.


Uribe hopes FARC will free some hostages or show that they are still alive.


FARC, the largest rebel group in Colombia, is fighting Uribe's "democratic security policy" that seeks to re-establish internal order and protect civilians from illegal armed groups.


FARC still has at least 50 "interchangeable" prisoners, including dozens of Colombians, three U.S. citizens and the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, who has been held since 2002. The rebel group promised to hand over evidence by December showing that the prisoners are still alive.


FARC is also seeking the release of Omaira Rojas Cabrera and Juvenal Ovidio Ricardo Palmera Pineda, who are known by their aliases Sonia and Simon Trinidad and currently held by the United States.


(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2007)

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