Colombia's FARC free two soldiers in step to restart peace talks

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 25, 2014 10:30 AM

By Julia Symmes Cobb

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's FARC rebels freed two captured soldiers on Tuesday partially meeting a condition to resume peace talks that the government has suspended until the guerrillas release hostages seized over the last two weeks, including an army general.

The halt in the two-year-old negotiations, taking place in Havana, threatened to derail efforts to end five decades of war between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels.

President Juan Manuel Santos has said talks would not resume until all five hostages, including General Ruben Dario Alzate, a military official, a civilian lawyer and the two soldiers released on Tuesday, are freed.

The soldiers, Paulo Cesar Rivera and Jonathan Andres Diaz, were taken captive in the restive eastern department of Arauca during a military operation on Nov. 9.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Additional reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Helen Murphy; Editing by James Dalgleish)