Colombia hostage release hits new delay

( AFP )- As darkness fell over the Colombian jungles Saturday, the much-awaited release of three hostages including a small boy held by Marxist rebels was delayed for a second day.

Two helicopters sent by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has spearheaded the operation under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), have been on standby here since Friday.

But a diplomat in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, told AFP the release would not now happen on Saturday as had been hoped.

"The hostages will not be released today for a very simple reason. It gets dark at 1800 hours," he said, explaining the ICRC was not authorized to operate in the violence-ridden country at night-time.

Venezuelan officials are still waiting for the guerrillas to disclose where they will release former lawmaker Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo , 57; Clara Rojas, 44 and her son, Emmanuel, born to a rebel in captivity.

Earlier an official with the ICRC, Yves Heller, told AFP by telephone from Bogota : "We are in suspense awaiting the coordinates, because we still don't have them.

"Once we get them directly from them, or via someone else such as the Venezuelan government, we will ask the Colombian government for security guarantees."

A team of international observers was meanwhile on its way to Villavicencio , a city some 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Bogota , to oversee the releases.

"Operation Emmanuel" -- named after the three-year-old boy who was born in captivity -- has taken months of delicate negotiations between Chavez, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The women were snatched in 2001 and 2002 respectively; Rojas was a top aide to Franco-Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who was seized at the same time and remains in FARC hands.

FARC announced December 18 it would release the three to Chavez or his representative, in its first hostage releases in more than five years.

It comes after many months of failed negotiations between FARC and the government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to swap about 45 hostages for some 500 FARC members held by the government.

Former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner was among seven observers heading for Villavicencio with representatives from France, Switzerland, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia, as well as US filmmaker Oliver Stone.

The handover could take place anywhere in a 310,000-square-kilometer (120,000-square-mile) wilderness in central and southeastern Colombia, where there are few roads but numerous landing strips used by drug traffickers.

Colombia's Civil Defense has made available a 100-strong search and rescue team of indigenous Colombians "who know the jungle very well," said Jorge Diaz, civil defense director for Villavicencio .

The Colombian government said Thursday that under a deadline set with Venezuelan officials the operation to pick up the three hostages must be completed by Sunday evening.

"The operation started today (Thursday) at 7:00 pm (2300 GMT) and must end Sunday at 6:59 pm (2359 GMT) at the latest," said presidential spokesman Cesar Mauricio Velazquez.

Marco Aurelio Garcia, an advisor to Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula Da Silva, said Saturday the group of observers would probably not have any contact with the guerrillas.

"It would be a great risk for them because they are probably being watched by Colombian security forces," he told Radio del Plata in Venezuela.

Security was tight Friday at the airport in Villavicencio as officials there prepared for a crush of international dignitaries, medics and journalists.

Meanwhile about 15 members of the hostages' families have travelled to Caracas, where Chavez is expected to deliver Perdomo , Rojas and Emmanuel after they are released.

Turkmen Ministry of Construction opens tender for equestrian sports complex construction
Turkmen Ministry of Construction opens tender for equestrian sports complex construction
Uzbekistan reveals data on its ICT sphere enterprises and organizations
Uzbekistan reveals data on its ICT sphere enterprises and organizations
Kazakhstan's exports to Switzerland decrease year-on-year
Kazakhstan's exports to Switzerland decrease year-on-year
Loading Bars
Latest
Turkmen Ministry of Construction opens tender for equestrian sports complex construction
Azerbaijani, Saudi FMs exchange views on current situation in Karabakh
Uzbekistan reveals data on its ICT sphere enterprises and organizations
Azerbaijan to export persimmons to Slovakia and Czech Republic
Level of religious tolerance in Azerbaijan is much higher than in France - ISESCO ex-director
Kazakhstan's exports to Switzerland decrease year-on-year
Azerbaijani medical insurance agency signs contract with tender-winning IT company
Resolution adopted by French Senate must be canceled – Azerbaijani NGO head
Volume of Turkish textile clothing supplies to Kazakh market surges
Latvian AirBaltic cancels Riga-Tbilisi-Riga flights
Reconnaissance work completed within Baiterek space complex creation in Kazakhstan
Thermal power plant modernization, other projects underway in Kazakhstan's Karaganda
Georgia imposes further restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus
Georgian carrier to launch regular cargo flights from China to Europe
Russia's Rostelecom expects to develop transit routes through Turkmenistan
Average monthly salary in Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan rises
Azerbaijani, Afghan FMs discuss latest situation in region
WB, AIIB to fund rural infrastructure development in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijani, Indonesian FMs stress importance of trilateral ceasefire statement
Austria fully supports Uzbekistan obtaining of EU’s GSP beneficiary status
Turkmenistan's Dashoguz region opens tender for installation work
France not part of Karabakh settlement, but part of problem - Turkish defense minister
Japanese companies to provide technical support for terry production in Uzbekistan
Germany's hotspot district to launch COVID-19 mass tests for children
Yield of citrus fruits in Azerbaijan up
Capital of Kazakh companies operating in Turkey revealed
Iran boosts its pistachio exports
World Economic Forum announces Azerbaijan's road quality score
Share of assets in Azerbaijani banking sector declines
Kazakhstan eyeing amending legislation to support renewable energy dev't
Georgian Hualing Free Industrial Zone plans to finalize deal with 4 new companies
Mortgage lending in Azerbaijan through state line grows manifold
Kazakhstan to launch hundreds of industrial projects before year-end
Azerbaijani ICT company wins tender on purchase of licenses
Central Bank of Azerbaijan discloses data from foreign exchange auction
Employment in Iran's West Azerbaijan Province increases
Buta Airways to Increase the Frequency of Flights Performed to Izmir
Azerbaijan, Hungary discuss possibilities of attracting investors to liberated territories
Georgian Huliang FIZ offering available land plots to potential investors
Azerbaijani NBCO talks about its activities amid coronavirus
Azerbaijan’s carpet producer signs tender contract
Many members of French Senate unaware war in Karabakh ended (VIDEO)
Number of people infected with coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 900,000
Baku Stock Exchange admits local investment company
Uzbekistan eyes to set up local production of various vaccines
France does not deserve Azerbaijan’s confidence – senator
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Bank mortgages in Azerbaijan rise
Full text of Azerbaijani parliament’s statement against French Senate’s resolution
Iran's economy remains strong and steady – Iran's president
Turkmenistan to be vital strategic partner, gas supplier to China long-term - Wood Mackenzie
EDB talks Kazakhstan's economy growth forecast, return to pre-COVID levels
Ambassadors of Turkey, Iran to Azerbaijan hold discusses on Karabakh
“I am quite sure that giving a hand to customers in this challenging time will pay off in the future”: interview with Dariusz Kacprzyk, Member of Supervisory Board of AccessBank Azerbaijan
Import of Turkish ready-made clothes by Iran down
Water resources of Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar district to be re-explored
Turkey's export of ready-made clothes to Uzbekistan down
Money supply in Azerbaijan grows - CBA
Lending to banking sector in Azerbaijan up
Turkmenistan raises 10M2020 imports of Turkish ready-made clothes
Uzbek gas chemical company opens tender for insurance services
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan up
Azerbaijan’s natural gas exports to Turkey down by 8%
German manufactures interested in buying high-quality walnuts in Georgia
New carpet factory opens in Turkmenistan
German company builds float glass plant in Uzbekistan’s Zarafshan city
Iranian oil minister talks about petrochemical facilities launched in Iran
Azerbaijan can't be pressured by adopting some paper piece - parliament's vice speaker
Azerbaijani parliament voices appeal to government due to France
Azerbaijan to implement digitalization of services of local executive authorities
French Senate betrays democratic values - Turkish government
China's import of Turkish cement up
Azerbaijani parliament condemns resolution adopted by French Senate
AP highlights devastation caused by Armenia in Azerbaijan’s Aghdam
Azerbaijan's ADY Express boosts daily volume of cargo handling at Astara terminal
Turkish Foreign Ministry condemns French Senate’s resolution on Karabakh
French Senate's resolution is not binding, says ambassador
Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications developing final strategy of 'Smart City' project
Protesters give statement in front of French embassy in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Integration of modern solutions contributes to growth of online sales - MiMobile
Georgia eyes to minimize negative impact of global crisis on country's private sector
Int’l standard of energy management system to be introduced at Uzbekneftegaz facilities
LUKOIL to restore daily gas production in Uzbekistan
Turkmenistan building new greenhouses
Georgia reports 3,801 new cases of coronavirus
Azerbaijan's parliament to make statement on draft resolution adopted by French Senate
Israel changed plans to buy AstraZeneca vaccine
Azerbaijan to provide grants, loans, investments to startup environment
Minister talks benefit of pipeline from Russia to supply some Kazakh regions with gas
Uzbekistan to launch numerous petrochemical industry projects in 2021
Measures to attract investors to Uzbek mining, geological industry discussed at int’l forum
NCOC reports yet another milestone at Kazakhstan-based Kashagan field
Georgia looking for contractor for terminal extension at Kutaisi International Airport
Kazakhstan boosts trade turnover with Lithuania despite COVID-19
Snam raises planned investments in new strategy
Snam raises its emission reduction target to 50%
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's East Azerbaijan Province decreases
US Venture Fund to bring Azerbaijani projects to int'l markets
Azerbaijani oil prices on the rise
Turkmenistan, EU discuss prospects for development of greenhouses
All news