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Colombian leader presses FARC on hostage issue


13:02, December 08, 2011

BOGOTA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday urged the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels to unconditionally release hostages as a way to show a willingness for peace talks.

"What we want to see is genuine will to reach a peace agreement, and one of the ways to express that will is freeing the hostages unilaterally, without conditions," Santos told reporters.

The president made the pitch after he rejected the FARC's request to swap 11 police officers and soldiers in captivity with guerrilla members held by the government.

The rebels said Tuesday that they would continue to check all the options to release the hostages, but will insist on a prisoner swap.

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