France negotiating hostage's release

July 22, 2005 at 6:31 AM

BOGOTA, July 22 (UPI) -- France reportedly is negotiating with Colombian guerrillas who have been holding French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt hostage for three years.

The alleged negotiations to free Betancourt were reported in the French press Friday, which cited the Colombian daily newspaper El Tiempo.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, reportedly are holding around 60 hostages besides Betancourt, who was kidnapped while running for the country's presidency on a leftist ticket in 2002.

Tuesday the guerrillas freed a soldier captured June 25 -- apparently the first time FARC has liberated a hostage in four years.

Securing the release of Betancourt is a high priority for the French government. She was once a political science student of the new prime minister, Dominique de Villepin.

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