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France reaches out to FARC

July 21, 2005 at 10:08 PM

BOGOTA, July 21 (UPI) -- French authorities have contacted Colombia's leading left-wing rebel group in hopes of securing the release of a French citizen.

The French government -- with Colombia's permission -- has established a dialogue with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, hoping the rebels will free captive Ingrid Betancourt, El Tiempo reported Thursday. Betancourt has been held captive for three years.

In addition to being a French citizen, Betancourt is also a one-time Colombian presidential hopeful.

The FARC have been battling the Colombian government for more than 40 years.