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Betancourt speaks to RFI

Article published on the 2008-07-06 Latest update 2008-07-16 12:13 TU

Ingrid Betancourt(Photo: E Ramalho)

Ingrid Betancourt
(Photo: E Ramalho)

Ingrid Betancourt visited RFI's studios on Monday and gave lengthy interviews in Spanish and in French. Speaking to RFI's French service, she explained how she sees the current situation in Colombia and what kind of resolution she envisages with the Farc.

IB: "President Uribe -- and, I think, not only President Uribe but the whole of Colombia -- must also correct certain things. President Uribe has been very skilful and very strong, and his policy on national security has been very successful. It's a fact, it has to be said.

"I believe however that we are now at a point where the vocabulary has to change. The way in which we talk about the other side is very important. We give the other side respect and tolerance so he doesn't lose face and so he can, at a given moment, accept to speak with the person he hates, the enemy, the person he's fighting with.

"I think it's time. We've come to the point where we have to change this radical and extremist vocabulary of hatred, of very strong words which intimately hurt a human being ."

RFI: Do you think you can convince President Uribe of this? Could he be your partner on the questin of peace in Colombia?

IB: "The only thing I can do is to say what I think. If my arguments are strong enough to convince him, thanks be to God, great. If not, I'll have to continue, I'll have to continue saying it until, at some point, people react."

RFI: When you hear that France has offered political asylum to rebel fighters who've agreed to repent, what's your reaction? Does that shock you?

IB: "No, not at all. I'm in complete agreement. I think it's a very good thing if they've repented, if they're aware that what they were doing was not the right path to go down. I'm in complete agreement. The choice of peace has to be available, the choice of respect for human rights. So they really need to have given up the use of violence. In their hearts there needs to be a change of attitude. But I think, just as important -- and for me, even more important -- is that France welcomes my companions."