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Colombia seeks good relations despite charges

Colombia's deputy foreign minister on Tuesday denied that an investigation into hostage mediator Jean-Pierre Gontard represented an attack on Swiss interests.

This content was published on July 16, 2008 - 10:35

"The judicial authorities in Colombia operate independently," Camilo Reyes told journalists. He said Columbia wanted to maintain and expand its relations with Switzerland.

Colombia accuses Gontard, a Geneva-based professor who acted as an envoy to the Farc rebel group, of having overstepped his role as a mediator when he allegedly handed over $500,000 (SFr504,500) to the rebels.

Colombian Attorney General Mario Iguarán said he wanted to bring conspiracy-related criminal charges against Gontard.

Gontard has denied the claim and has been strongly backed by the Swiss foreign ministry, which has taken diplomatic measures asking Bogota to stop its "attacks" on the Swiss facilitator.

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