updated 6/8/2008 4:42:08 PM ET 2008-06-08T20:42:08

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is urging Colombian rebels to lay down their weapons, free all their hostages and put an end to a decades-long armed struggle against Colombia's government.

Chavez says ongoing efforts by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to overthrow Colombia's democratically elected government are unjustified.

"The guerrilla war is history," he said during his Sunday television and radio program.

The Venezuelan leader's statements could help to warm relations between Venezuela and Colombia that have been strained due to Colombia's allegations that Chavez might be aiding the FARC.

Chavez denies supporting the FARC. He says his contacts with the guerrillas were aimed at securing the release of rebel-held hostages.

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