Peru withdraws Uruguay diplomat after siege swap
Fujimori's daughter brings yule food for hostages
December 25, 1996
Web posted at: 2:30 p.m. EST (1930 GMT)
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LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- The Peruvian government withdrew its top diplomat in Uruguay on Wednesday after Uruguay released two alleged Peruvian rebels, a move that appeared to win freedom for Uruguay's ambassador in the Lima hostage crisis.
A foreign ministry official confirmed that Peru's chief of mission in Uruguay was being called home, but would not comment on the reason for Efrain Saavedra's Christmas Day withdrawal.
However, Peru's decision appeared to be in response to Tuesday's release by Uruguay of two alleged Tupac Amaru members.
Uruguay's ambassador to Peru, Tabare Bocalandro, was set free hours after the prisoners were released.
Uruguay officially claimed the two events were a coincidence, but sources said a deal had been struck.
Fujimori's 'first lady' on scene
Also Wednesday, the daughter of Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori arrived at the besieged Japanese ambassador's residence around noon. Keiko Sofia Fujimori drove up in a black Mercedes automobile escorted by a bus carrying food, apparently for the hostages.
President Fujimori is divorced and his daughter, Keiko, is considered the "first lady" of Peru.
She was seen talking with International Red Cross officials who have been acting as go-betweens in the eight-day-old crisis. On Christmas Day, 105 hostages remained inside the residence, held by about 15 members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.
Mass for hostages
Red Cross officials said the food -- which appeared to include trays of roasted turkeys studded with skewers of fresh fruit -- would not be carried in until a Catholic priest who went in earlier comes out.
Bishop Jose Luis Cipriani entered the residence early Wednesday to lead the mainly Catholic hostages in prayer following a mass believed to have been given by a captive Jesuit priest who earlier turned down his chance of freedom.
In Moscow, President Boris Yeltsin suggested that Russia and the G-7 group of leading industrialized countries send
anti-terrorist forces to Peru to help Fujimori solve the conflict.
There was no immediate reaction from the Peruvian government.
The leftist rebels, whom freed hostages described as heavily armed, are demanding the release of 300 jailed comrades.
Correspondent Susan Candiotti and Reuters contributed to this report.
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