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Caracas, Friday November 30 , 2007  
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For France, Chávez's mediation is ancient history

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The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered on Friday that mediation of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to release Colombian hostages is a thing of the past, few hours after the release of a proof-of-life video of some hostages, including ex Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

"I think I can say today that Chávez's mediation is a thing of the past," Pascale Anreani, the spokeswoman of the French Forign Ministry, told reporters.

On November 22nd, French President Nicolás Sarkozy sent a message to his Colombian counterpart Álvaro Uribe, asking him to reverse his decision to end with Chávez mediation, AFP reported.

Sarkozy, who is quite committed to the issue of hostages, had asked Uribe to "keep the dialogue" with Chávez. Shortly before this move, the Venezuelan ruler had paid an official visit to Paris, but failed to provide a proof of life of the people in the hands of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC).

"It must be acknowledged that progress has been made in this case. Today, it is not Chávez's mediation which is at stake. Now, we have proofs of life coming from a totally different source. What we really mind is to find a solution," said the spokeswoman.

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