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FARC: No Hostage Release Without International Witnesses


The Colombian leftist rebel group, FARC, said it is willing to hand over six hostages but it will only do so in the presence of an international representative.

In a statement made public Wednesday, the FARC said it wants someone from either a "brother country" or the international community to be present when it frees the hostages.

Both the FARC and the Colombian government say they will let someone from the International Committee of the Red Cross be on hand for the hostage release. But Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has said he does not want any other international participation

The rebel group has pledged to release two politicians - including Alan Jara, who is a former governor held since 2001 - along with three police officers and a soldier.

The FARC has said it would deliver the hostages to Piedad Cordoba, a Colombian opposition senator. Cordoba has been involved in previous efforts to secure the release of hostages held by the FARC in jungle hideouts.

In July, the FARC was dealt a blow when a military operation freed 15 of its hostages, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans, without a shot being fired. The hostages were airlifted to safety by Colombian soldiers posing as members of a humanitarian group.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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