Archive for Saturday, September 1, 2007

Chavez to discuss hostage-for-rebel deal

September 1, 2007

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— Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Colombia's Alvaro Uribe agreed Friday to allow a representative of Colombia's largest guerrilla group to travel to Caracas for talks aimed at freeing dozens of rebel-held hostages, including three U.S. defense contractors.

"I am prepared to speak with whomever they send," Chavez said after an eight-hour meeting with Uribe to discuss advancing a possible swap of the hostages for imprisoned guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The rebels, he said, had already accepted the invitation.

The FARC is holding 45 hostages, including soldiers, politicians and the three U.S. contractors abducted more than four years ago. In return for releasing them, the FARC wants hundreds of guerrillas to be freed, including two commanders now in U.S. prisons.

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