Relief as siege comes to an end

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 1997, 12:00am
 

Peru's Consul-General to Hong Kong, Jorge Abarca del Carpio, was woken early yesterday morning by a call from Lima with dramatic news of the raid to free the hostages from terrorists holding them in the Japanese Embassy. Mr Abarca del Carpio, 48, who has been Consul-General for the past three years, has also served in Sweden, Uruguay, El Salvador and Cuba.


What's on your mind? I heard the news from a friend who telephoned me from Lima. I switched on CNN at 6 am and watched. It was incredible. We never thought the military would enter the embassy. I am very happy.


It's good news not only for Peru but also for Latin America. The international community will welcome the news because it is so difficult to conduct this kind of operation. It was a difficult situation and the negotiations were very difficult.


Did you know anyone who was held hostage? One of my colleagues and friends from the Foreign Ministry who was previously the ambassador to South Africa, Jorge Valdes, attended the reception and was inside for four months. He was released this morning at 4 am. Another friend was there also, but was allowed to leave after a few days.


Do you feel any sympathy for the terrorists or their cause? In Peru, the population never gives its support to these groups. We are a passive country and we don't like violence.


Over the past four months, nobody supported this group, they were isolated.


Did the hostage crisis make your job more difficult? Many people have asked me about the situation and they always hoped it would be solved. It has been one of the biggest news stories in the world. Some friends say they did not know where Peru was but now they have seen it on TV.


People understand the situation in Peru, the economy goes on every day and the President was working hard to resolve the situation.


Will you celebrate? My colleagues from Latin America, Argentina, Colombia, they gave congratulations. We don't think there will be any celebrations, we are just glad it is over.


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