( AP ) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday he met with a top leader of Colombia's second-largest rebel group as he seeks to lead peace negotiations.
"We sat down here with the No. 2 chief of the ELN, Antonio Garcia," Chavez said, referring to the National Liberation Army. Colombian Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo also attended the talks at the presidential palace Thursday night, Chavez said.
Chavez didn't reveal details of what he discussed with the ELN leader. He said he also spoke earlier Thursday with the rebel group's top leader, Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, known by the nom-de-guerre Gabino. It was unclear if they met in person or spoke by phone.
The talks came as Chavez also tries to negotiate a swap of imprisoned rebels for hostages held by Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC. Among the dozens of captives are French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans.