Annan welcomes release of 250 soldiers held hostage in Colombia

At the same time, the Secretary-General voiced his continuing concern about the increasing violence affecting the unarmed civilian population and by threats that fighting could spread further into urban areas, a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement. It was the Secretary-General’s hope, the spokesman said, that the release of imprisoned troops, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday, would be a step towards greater confidence and concrete agreements in ongoing peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the FARC. “In particular, the Secretary-General wishes to underscore the international community’s call to the parties, as a matter of priority, to conclude agreements on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

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