|Today in Bogota the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, called upon those involved in the kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian citizen, to consider the purely humanitarian nature of the mission launched for her release by France, assisted by Spain and Switzerland. “The success of this humanitarian mission ultimately depends on the willingness of Ms Betancourt’s kidnappers to cooperate. I would urge them to cooperate with this mission and save a life,” stressed the Slovenian President, speaking to many Colombian and other foreign journalists in Bogota.
According to the Slovenian President, the key goal of the mission is to save a life. “In particular, to save one of the hostages, whose life might already be in danger. Reports on the health of Ms Betancourt are deeply alarming and every effort must be made to save her life and accomplish this humanitarian mission,” said Dr Türk. He also stressed that this humanitarian mission was supported by the EU Member States and that the Government of the Republic of Colombia had responded constructively by taking measures to support the mission, thereby demonstrating its readiness to take part.
“I sincerely hope that the experience of the last few months will prompt FARC to reconsider their tactics and actions. I hope that Colombia will no longer have to deal with the phenomenon of kidnapping,” declared the Slovenian President who, during his official visit to Colombia, had a meeting with the President, Álvaro Uribe Vélez.
The Slovenian and Colombian Presidents also expressed their willingness to reinforce links between the European Union and Latin America. Dr Türk spoke about the priorities of the forthcoming EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit in Lima. The summit is also aimed, according to the Slovenian President, at intensifying such relations. “In this context, we are interested in supporting all efforts in favour of peace, stability, development and the protection of human rights in Latin America,” said the President of the Republic of Slovenia, adding that many of the countries of the region were also pursuing these goals. “It is vital that we all work to support these values: peace, stability, development and the protection of human rights,” he concluded.
The Colombian President, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, underlined the importance of the Slovenian President’s visit at the time of the revival of negotiations between the EU and the Andes Community and in the lead-up to the EU-LAC summit, and expressed appreciation for his visit to Colombia.