March 4, 2008 / 2:31 AM / 12 years ago

Ecuador's Correa says was close to FARC hostage deal

QUITO, March 3 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on Monday his government had been close to securing a deal with Colombian FARC rebels to free 12 hostages, including French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt, before a military incursion by Colombia.

Correa was responding to accusations by Colombia that his government had ties to the rebels amid a diplomatic dispute over the Colombian raid in which a senior guerrilla commander was killed in Ecuadorean territory on Saturday.

Correa said Colombia had been aware of his attempts to broker a hostage deal with the FARC rebels. (Reporting by Alonso Soto in Quito; Editing by Bill Trott)

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