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Cablegate: Farc Seeks Icrc Help to Return Murdered Hostages'

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #5035 1931548
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121548Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6957
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 9179
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUL LIMA 5248
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0455
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 5850
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP ADMIN/CHAIRS//

UNCLAS BOGOTA 005035

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM MARR CO
SUBJECT: FARC SEEKS ICRC HELP TO RETURN MURDERED HOSTAGES'
REMAINS

REF: BOGOTA 4741 AND PREVIOUS

---------------------------------
FARC Requests ICRC "Good Offices"
---------------------------------

1. On July 9, the FARC posted an open letter on its web
portal Anncol from Secretariat member Raul Reyes requesting
the "good offices" of international intermediaries -- mainly
the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) -- to
facilitate handover of the remains of 11 Valle assemblymen
murdered while in FARC custody June 18 (reftel). The FARC
attributed the deaths to a crossfire during an attack by an
unidentified military group. Reyes blamed delays in
delivering the remains to the presence of "official and
parastatal" troops near where the hostages were held. In a
rare hint of FARC contrition, the group admitted it had
"failed in its mission to protect the prisoners."

-------------------------
ICRC Awaits Clarification
-------------------------

2. The Red Cross publicly confirmed it had received both the
FARC request and GOC authorization to proceed, but no time or
place for handover had been confirmed. The ICRC announced it
was ready to undertake the effort, contingent on GOC and FARC
guarantees of security. The FARC has not specified other
terms for the handover, possibly including a demilitarized
zone. The GOC has consistently ruled out creation of such a
zone, a perennial FARC demand. ICRC Colombia Director
Barbara Hintermann told us a "confidential dialogue is
crucial for the continuation of the negotiation" to recover
the remains.

------------------------------
GOC Cautious; Colombians March
------------------------------

3. The GOC supports the ICRC in its humanitarian mission but
remains skeptical of FARC intentions. Interior and Justice
Minister Carlos Holguin said, "The Government gives full
backing to the Red Cross. We are ready for it to proceed.
Hopefully the Red Cross will know soon to what area the
communique refers." The murdered hostages' families urged
contacts to begin in order to bring closure to their ordeals.
On July 5, millions across Colombia responded to the murders
with a series of protest marches and other displays of
solidarity against FARC murders and kidnapping, demanding the
release of all hostages.

Drucker

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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