CARACAS - Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles pledged to help Colombia in its peace talks with rebels and distance himself from Iran should he defeat President Hugo Chavez in an increasingly tight race ahead of Sunday's election.

The government of neighboring Colombia is about to start talks with Marxist FARC guerrillas this month in Oslo to try to end five decades of conflict. Chavez's government, accused by Bogota of backing the rebels in the past, supports the talks.

That has led to speculation that an opposition victory in Venezuela on October 7 could damage prospects for peace in Colombia. But Capriles denied that was the case.

"A government led by us would accelerate the Colombia peace process. A progressive government in Venezuela will stop being a refuge for rebels, for armed groups," he told a news conference in Caracas on Monday.

"We have a government that is an accomplice of the Colombian guerrillas. That will change."

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