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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Colombia rebels 'to meet Chavez'
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (L) with Hugo Chavez
Colombia's President Uribe asked Mr Chavez to help mediate
Colombian rebels have indicated they are ready to meet Venezuela President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela as part of moves to arrange a hostage swap.

Mr Chavez has offered to negotiate the release of hostages held by the Farc, which has been waging a war against the Colombian government since the 1960s.

The talks would take place on 8 October in Caracas, Colombian media reported.

The Colombian government has rejected a proposal by Mr Chavez to allow the talks to take place in Colombia.

The Farc's readiness to travel to Venezuela was conveyed in a video recording delivered to a Colombian senator "somewhere in the jungle", according to the Colombian media.

The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo reported that a rebel spokesman, Raul Reyes, said in the video that his group was willing to meet Mr Chavez in Venezuela.

He said the Farc was committed to reaching an agreement to exchange the politicians, members of the armed forces and three US citizens it holds for nearly 500 guerrilla prisoners.

The proposed date for the meeting - 8 October - would coincide with the 40th anniversary of the capture and death of the Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara in Bolivia.




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