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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 08:31 GMT
Colombia rejects foreign missions
By Jeremy McDermott
BBC News, Medellin

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
President Alvaro Uribe has been boosted by the hostage fiasco
The Colombian government said it will not accept any more international commissions like that set up last month by President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Mr Chavez had launched an operation to receive three of the 46 hostages held by the Farc rebels.

In the end the Farc did not free the hostages because one of them, a three-year-old boy called Emmanuel, was found to be in a foster home instead.

The government seized on this to resume control in dealings with the Farc.

The Colombian government is seeking to block unwelcome and uninvited involvement in its internal affairs, specifically its dealings, or lack of, with the Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas.

'Immeasurably strengthened'

In a hard-hitting statement by the foreign minister, Fernando Araujo, Colombia criticised the international effort organised by the Venezuelan president to receive three hostages that the Farc, despite promises, failed to liberate.

President Alvaro Uribe has come out immeasurably strengthened after the Farc not only failed to liberate the hostages but were proven to have lied to the Colombian public and the international community.

Mr Uribe had been under pressure from several countries, among them France, to make concessions to the Farc and secure the release of the hostages the guerrillas hold, whom they want to exchange for hundreds of rebels in prison.

The message from the Colombian government is clear: "Stay out of our affairs."

Mr Uribe, backed by Washington, will now be able to concentrate on his military efforts to crush the rebels.

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