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article imageJesse Jackson FARC mediation rejected by Colombian President

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By Layne Weiss     Sep 29, 2013 in World
The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has rejected mediation which US civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson has agreed to be a part of over a rebel-held hostage.
President Santos said that only the Red Cross was permitted to be involved because he did not want a "spectacle," BBC News reports.
Jackson had accepted a request from FARC rebels to travel to Colombia next week to help mediate the release of Kevin Scott Sutay, a former United States marine who has been held hostage since being kidnapped in June.
The rebels say they want to free Mr. Scott to help promote peace talks, BBC News reports.
Rev. Jesse Jackson agreed to visit Colombia during a visit to Cuba where FARC issued a statement saying his "experience and probity" would speed up the process of Mr. Scott's release.
"We accept this obligation and opportunity to render service to Kevin Scott, his family and our nation," Jackson said. "We have made contact with the State Department urging them to contact as quickly as possible the nearest of kin of Kevin Scott because his release is imminent."
Cuba has been hosting peace talks between FARC and the Colombian government since last November. The objective is to end a five-decade conflict that has killed over 200,000 people, Reuters reports.
President Santos reacted quickly to the news that Jesse Jackson would be involved in the talks involving FARC and the release of Kevin Scott. "Only the Red Cross will be allowed to facilitate the release of the North American kidnapped by the Farc. We won't allow a media spectacle," he tweeted according to BBC News.
Santos even rejected the involvement of former senator Piedad Cordoba, who has mediated the releases of more than 30 FARC hostages since 2008, AFP reports. FARC had also requested her involvement.
Jesse Jackson visited Colombia just 10 days ago, telling FARC rebels that releasing Kevin Scott would help further peace negotiations with the government, Reuters reports.
According to BBC News, FARC responded by inviting Rev. Jackson to come to Colombia and participate in the negotiations over Mr. Scott's release.
Jackson accepted the invitation just hours later.
Before Jackson had said anything, the rebels said nothing about releasing the US military veteran, Reuters reports.
Jackson will be in Cuba until Monday and then had planned to go from there to Colombia. No word on whether his travel plans will change or if he will talk to President Santos.
In early 2012, FARC agreed to free some of its hostages and to stop kidnapping civilians, AFP notes.
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