Betancourt Arrives in Paris

Sarkozy welcomes freed hostage home
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2008 11:08 AM CDT
Former hostage Ingrid Betancourt holds the hand of French President Nicolas Sarkozy as she arrives at Villacoublay air base, outside Paris, Friday July 4, 2008.    (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
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(Newser) – Ingrid Betancourt returned to France today after 6 years in captivity in Colombia, CNN reports. "I have been dreaming for 7 years for this moment," the French-Colombian politician said at Villacoublay airport outside Paris. "I owe everything to France. You all shared my despair, my family's despair. I am carrying all of you in my heart."

Nicolas Sarkozy met Betancourt on the tarmac. "France loves you," the president told her, and said of her relatives, "They never stopped fighting to get you freed." Political rivals have criticized Sarkozy for attempting to capitalize on the hostage release even though France wasn't involved in the resucue mission, but Betancourt praised the government for keeping up pressure on the Colombian miltary, Reuters reports.