President Hugo Chavez said he met Wednesday with a representative of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - his first talk with the leftist rebels aimed at negotiating a swap of hostages for jailed FARC guerrillas.
Chavez did not elaborate, saying only that he briefly met "an emissary" of FARC commander Manuel Marulanda and would continue "trying to find a humanitarian agreement" in talks slated to continue on Thursday. He did not identify the FARC representative.
Colombia's US-allied government in September authorized the Venezuelan president to broker a deal with the leftist rebels. If the two sides reach an agreement, about 45 hostages and even more jailed rebels could be freed.