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Chavez, Zapatero and Lula express their concerns about the fate of Ingrid Betancourt to President Uribe.

4/7/2005 - ABC.es

On the occasion of the meeting of Presidents Chavez, Lula, Uribe and Zapatero which took place in Guayana in Venezuela on 29 March at a lunch attended by the four Presidents and their respective Foreign Ministers, Presidents Chavez, Zapatero and Lula expressed their deep concern about the fate of Ingrid Betancourt, her campaign director Clara Rojas and 23 other political hostages currently detained by FARC. They indicated their interest in moves that might lead to a Humanitarian Agreement. The fact that three countries spoke in a united voice is an important support that gives again a lot of hope to the families of the hostages.

On 4 March, Astrid Betancourt, Ingrid's sister met the Spanish Chancellor Miguel Angel Moratinos in Madrid:

Minister Moratinos had stated that his country was willing to help obtain freedom for the former presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages although he had not given details of how this could be achieved.

On 6 March at a bilateral meeting between the Colombian and Spanish governments held in Bogotá, the Spanish government included in its agenda the situation of Ingrid Betancourt and other political hostages. Spain asked about Ingrid Betancourt's situation and about progress towards a Humanitarian Agreement. Spain will examine how it can work with other countries that are already involved in supporting the agreement in such a way as to add to and not replace such actions.

Astrid Betancourt has commented on this:

This initiative from Spain is extremely important: this is the first time that Spain has supported the Humanitarian Agreement. This is a radical departure from the policy of the previous government led by Aznar. The Spanish government under Zapatero while supporting a very firm anti -terrorist policy is showing flexibility with regard to managing different situations, especially when the lives of hostages can be saved.

In this way I think that Spain is becoming an attentive observer that will ensure that proceeding can progress without hindrance with respect to the government of Colombia. In this way Spain will play a similar role to that currently held by Presidents Lulu and Chavez.


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