President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that "we want peace," but that Colombia and its allies in Washington represent war. "It must be said: They, the empire and its lackeys, are war," Chavez said in a televised speech. "We want peace. ... We are the path to peace." Chavez said he spoke by phone Wednesday to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who "called, worried by the situation." Venezuela and Ecuador have sent thousands of troops to their borders with Colombia in response to a Colombian military strike that killed two dozen rebels at a camp on Ecuadorean soil. Ecuador called it a blatant violation of its sovereignty and said it set back efforts to free hostages held by the rebels, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. Chavez has warned Colombia that Venezuela would respond militarily to any violation of its border.