( dpa )- Senator John McCain, the Republican Party's likely presidential nominee, Monday called for Venezuela and Ecuador to remove their troops from the Colombian border.
McCain called the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), whose second-in-command was killed by Colombian military forces who crossed over into Ecuador on Saturday, one of the world's "premier terrorist organizations" which has been kidnapping, murdering and promoting the drug trade for decades.
Venezuela and Ecuador have moved troops to the Colombian border to protest the killing. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has negotiated the release of a handful of the hundreds of hostages being held by FARC for years, and wants FARC to be given political legitimacy.
McCain called Colombia a "vital ally" who has been working with the US to stem the flow of illegal drugs northwards into the US.
"I want to reiterate our partnership and friendship with President Uribe and the government of Colombia," McCain said. "I hope the tensions will be relaxed and that President Chavez will remove his troops from the border, as well as the Ecuadorians."
The US government had not yet officially reacted to the situation.