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Liberation Of 15 Colombian Hostages Welcomed At UN

Secretary-General welcomes liberation of 15 Colombian hostages

2 July 2008 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warmly welcomed today's announcement by Colombia regarding the rescue of 15 hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), some of whom had been held captive by the rebel group for years.

The liberated hostages comprise the former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three United States citizens and 11 members of the Colombian armed forces. Ms. Betancourt had been held for more than six years.

"These hostages and so many others still held captive in Colombia have endured years of hardship and privation," Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson. "Kidnapping is an abhorrent crime and an egregious violation of international humanitarian law."

The Secretary-General called on FARC "to immediately and unconditionally release the remaining hostages, whose security is their responsibility. He urges the FARC and other groups to engage in dialogue with the authorities with a view to freeing hostages and ending the violence that has afflicted Colombia for so long."

ENDS

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