Viewing cable 08BOGOTA267
Title: PRESIDENT URIBE'S NEXT STEPS ON HOSTAGE RELEASE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08BOGOTA2672008-01-22 20:44:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BOGOTA 000267 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PTER PREL VZ VT FR SP SZ CO
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT URIBE'S NEXT STEPS ON HOSTAGE RELEASE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William R. Brownfield 
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
 
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SUMMARY 
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1.(C) President Uribe has developed a four-part strategy to 
move ahead on hostages and take some of the initiative away 
from Chavez: support the Catholic Church facilitation effort, 
resurrect the European initiative, welcome unilateral release 
arranged by any other government, and organize an 
international medical mission to visit the hostages.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
2.(C) At a Jan 19 meeting with ONDCP Director and 
accompanying codel, President Uribe offered his most detailed 
presentation to date concerning the next steps on hostage 
release and a possible humanitarian accord.  Following the 
meeting, Uribe pulled Ambassador aside and said this reflects 
GOC thinking on how to proceed.  It was the line he would 
take in his Jan 19-23 trip to Europe; the GOC would also take 
this stance with the press to reassert the initiative in the 
face of Chavez' public posturing. 
 
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NEXT STEPS 
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3.(C) Uribe said the GOC has decided on a four-step process 
to move on the hostage crisis: 
 
--Support efforts of the Colombian Catholic Church.  GOC 
would reiterate in both public and private channels its 
willingness to engage in dialogue with the FARC on hostages 
through the Church.  At the request of the Church, Uribe 
would also authorize some sort of "meeting location" (zona de 
encuentro).  He emphasized that this would not be a repeat of 
the Pastrana government's demilitarized zone (despeje), and 
would be subject to precise conditions--rural area; no local 
population; no GOC armed or security force presence in the 
area; no larger than 150 square kilometers. 
 
--Reactivate European initiative.  Nearly two years ago, the 
governments of France, Spain, and Switzerland led an 
initiative to engage the FARC in dialogue over the hostages. 
Uribe has given the Europeans the green light to reengage. 
He expects them to coordinate with, and meld into, the 
Church's effort. 
 
--Accept unilateral release.  In order to neutralize Chavez, 
Uribe and GOC would welcome any unilateral release of 
hostages produced by other governments (read: Venezuela). 
"Unilateral," to Uribe, means a release that is not 
negotiated with or by the GOC. 
 
 
--International medical mission.  Uribe at some point expects 
to be able to pinpoint specific areas where hostages are 
being held.  Once located, he would reach out to the ICRC and 
international community to organize and seek approval from 
the FARC for an international medical mission to visit the 
hostages and treat those with severe health concerns.  Uribe 
thought recent releases of proof of life (POL) showing 
obviously ill and mistreated hostages would give this 
initiative serious international support. 
 
 
 
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THE NON-NEGOTIABLES 
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4.(C) Codel members were sympathetic to Uribe's desire to 
take the initiative from Chavez, and make progress on the 
hostages.  Several reminded him that over the past 40 years, 
we have learned that to negotiate with or make concessions to 
hostage-takers only encourages more kidnapping and hostages. 
Uribe agreed.  He noted that he would still insist on three 
non-negotiable conditions: 
 
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--No demilitarized zone. Uribe is willing to offer a meeting 
location, but not a despeje. 
 
--Released FARC prisoners could not return to the field. 
Uribe noted that the FARC members released by the GOC last 
May at French request had not returned to the field.  In 
fact, it was his opinion that few FARC members, once outside 
of FARC care and custody, would have any desire to return to 
the field. 
 
--All hostages to be treated as a whole.  Uribe would not 
permit the GOC to discuss the release of some hostages, but 
not others. 
 
 
 
 
 
5.(C) COMMENT.  Uribe has been wrestling for two weeks with 
the question of how to respond effectively to Chavez' verbal 
attacks and continued engagement in the FARC hostage crisis, 
despite being asked by the GOC to withdraw.  He believes this 
four step plan will attract international support, is 
ambitious enough to be taken seriously, covers his left flank 
if Chavez produces more hostage releases, and offers some 
prospects for success without engaging Chavez. 
Brownfield