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U.S. backs Colombian rebel capture

BOGOTA, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. officials spoke out in favor of Colombia's decision to capture a known rebel leader in the neighboring Venezuelan capital, El Tiempo reported Sunday.

Last week Colombian President Alvaro Uribe defended his country's decision to enter Venezuelan territory and capture Rodrigo Grande, a leader of the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

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The group has waged a 40-year civil war with the Colombian government. Grande is known as the "foreign minister" for the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, traveling to other nations to promote the rebel group's cause.

"We support 100 percent the declarations from the presidential palace (of Colombia)," said U.S. Ambassador to Bogota William Wood.

Colombia admitted it used bounty hunters to nab Grande on Dec. 13. Later, a Venezuelan official said Venezuelan police paid by Colombia picked him up in Caracas.

Previously, Uribe said Grande was arrested along the Venezuelan-Colombian border on the Colombian side.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez severed relations with Colombia Friday over the incident demanding a formal apology. Instead Uribe proposed a "face-to-face" sit-down with his Venezuelan counterpart to resolve the dispute.

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