Colombia hostage talks resume

Negotiations to end the occupation of the Dominican Republic Embassy by M-19 guerrillas were to resume Friday as Colombia carefully studied a second offer of assistance from Cuban President Fidel Castro. Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell, meanwhile, writes that the Cuban offer could play a significant role in improving Cuban-Colombia relations, which became frayed last year when the two countries tangled in a 10-week battle for a UN Security Council seat, which ultimately went to Mexico.

Mexican Ambassador Ricardo Galan of Mexico, chosen by his fellow captives as their envoy to the negotiations, has accused the Colombian government of misrepresenting the negotiations, according to the New York Times. The paper reports that Mr. Galan telephoned Foreign Minister Diego Uribe Vargas to protest a harsh government communique, which described the terrorists as inflexible.

Five previous rounds of talks have collapsed over the guerillas' insistence -- and the government's refusal -- that 311 jailed leftists be freed from Colombian prisons in exchange for the hostages.

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