Twelve kidnapped lawmakers pleaded with President Alvaro Uribe to jumpstart stalled talks with their leftist rebel captors in a video released Friday by the insurgents.
The legislators are among about 60 politicians, soldiers and police - including three American defense contractors - held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Latin America's oldest and best-armed guerrilla movement.
The video, the first proof of life of the lawmakers in seven months, was viewed Friday by weeping family members in the same state legislature where their loved ones were abducted five years ago by a commando rebel unit disguised as soldiers.
The hostages were shown repeating calls for Uribe to concede to rebel demands for an 800-square-kilometers safe haven near Cali, Colombia's third largest city, to conduct talks aimed at negotiating the exchange of the hostages for hundreds of jailed rebels.
After the video's release, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos reiterated the government's refusal to grant the request, saying, "the government had explained over and over such a proposal was unacceptable."