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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