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Colombia Welcomes Idea of US Help in Hostage Talks


Colombian President Alvaro Uribe says he would welcome the involvement of U.S. officials in a long-running hostage standoff with his nation's Marxist rebels.

In remarks at the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, Mr. Uribe said his government supports a proposal by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to have American lawmakers join negotiations for release of the captives, three of whom are American.

The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, asked for fair compensation for what he called the sacrifices Congo is making to comply with environmental laws.

He also urged the United Nations to continue its efforts to bring stability to Congo's North Kivu province. The U.N.'s largest peacekeeping force is stationed in Congo.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said those U.N. troops have failed to counter attacks by Congo-based Hutu rebels in his country. Mr. Kagame said the rebels, some of whom took part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, are still terrorizing the Great Lakes Region.

The president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, said his country has discovered that an alleged plot to overthrow the government in 2004 involved people linked to the governments of U.N. member nations. He said he is waiting for a reaction from those governments, which he did not name.

Earlier, Serbian President Boris Tadic said his country is ready to compromise on resolving the status of Kosovo, but ruled out independence for the province.

Mr. Tadic said the interests of minority ethnic groups, including Serbs and Roma, must be protected in the majority ethnic Albanian region.

Croatian President Stipe Mesic also said his country is seeking a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

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