from State Department daily briefing, January 24, 2003
Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
January 24, 2003
QUESTION: I have
information from Columbia that some US officials are participating in
negotiations to the delivery of the two US journalists. Could you confirm
that and also if the US State Department, say, is supporting these negotiations
with paramilitary groups after that?
MR. BOUCHER: Let
me update you on the situation about the two missing journalists that,
as you know, the ELN, the National Liberation Army, has announced that
it took those two persons hostage. One is identified as an American citizen
photographer and the other is a British citizen journalist.
We are greatly concerned
about their welfare. We are urging their immediate release. I cannot talk
anymore about the individuals -- but just say that we are working with
Columbian authorities and others regarding the case and I have to leave
it at that for the moment.
on the others?
MR. BOUCHER: The
other three have been released. The three that were picked up -- taken
hostage by the AUC have been released. We are working with the Government
of Colombia. Our Embassy officials in Bogotá are working with the
Government of Colombia to ensure their safe return to the United States.
We have been in contact with the families, but also I don't have a Privacy
Act Waiver to talk anymore about their own particular situations.
MR. BOUCHER: Yes?
QUESTION: But they
are supporting negotiations with paramilitary groups?
MR. BOUCHER: We said,
I think the Secretary said when he was down in Colombia, when President
Uribe had just gotten a letter and was considering his response that we
thought it was up to the Government of Colombia to decide what to do.
It was important
to stop the activities of these groups, to stop the terrorism that comes
from various groups of different political persuasions. So we have supported
the Colombian Government's decisions in that regard -- of whatever they
think they need to do.
As of January 28, 2003,
this document was also available online at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2003/16859.htm