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Cablegate: Uribe Reiterates Goc Opposition to Return Of

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UNCLAS BOGOTA 007203

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR PREF PREL PTER VZ CO
SUBJECT: URIBE REITERATES GOC OPPOSITION TO RETURN OF
"SONIA" AND "SIMON TRINIDAD"

1. On October 3, following a breakfast meeting with Secretary
of Defense Robert M. Gates, President Alvaro Uribe told the
press the GOC opposed the return to Colombia of FARC members
"Sonia" and "Simon Trinidad" as part of any humanitarian
exchange of FARC-held hostages for FARC members in Colombian
jails. Uribe said, "I want to express to the international
community that you cannot equate the hostages in FARC custody
with prisoners investigated and sentenced by Colombian
justice."

2. Uribe said the "negative precedent" of such an exchange
would undermine the GOC's extradition policy. It would
encourage illegal armed groups and narcotraffickers to kidnap
Americans and blackmail the USG and GOC in future extradition
cases. Uribe reiterated GOC support for facilitator Senator
Piedad Cordoba's humanitarian mission, but said her mission
must remain within the GOC's clearly-set limits. Uribe told
the press corps he had delivered those views directly to
Secretary Gates. "You cannot play around with extradition,"

SIPDIS
he concluded.

3. Secretary Gates, speaking to the media after his visit,
agreed with Uribe on "how counter-productive it is to release
convicted criminals in exchange for hostages." He said he
supported GOC efforts to obtain the hostage's release.
"President Uribe has assured me there are limits of what he
will and will not agree to," Gates said, "and I am satisfied
with those limits."
Brownfield

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