Blunt: Chavez Call to Drop FARC from List of Foreign Terrorists 'Absurd'

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) issued the following statement today after Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called on the government of the United States , as well as other world nations, to remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from its list of recognized terrorist organizations.

"Although we're all pleased that the FARC recently released two hostages, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the group remains a ruthless narco-terrorist organization. In recent years it has been responsible for countless deaths and the kidnappings of innocent Colombians, Americans, and other foreign nationals. The suggestion that this organization should be removed from our list of foreign terrorist organizations - or anyone else's - is absurd on its face.

"This episode, though, highlights the unique challenges our friends in the region face - especially President Uribe of Colombia , who continues to stake his life and livelihood on the future health and prosperity of his country. His efforts to establish rule of law and broader government control over previously dangerous parts of his country should be commended, and every foreign leader committed to security in the region should be working together with him to further those efforts.

"In that continued fight, it's my view the United States should be a committed ally - not a detached, disinterested observer from afar. And the best way we can do that is by sending a message to the region that America stands with its friends, trades with them when we can, and wants to be a partner in peace and security. One example of that friendship would be Congress's passage of the Colombian free trade agreement, and that's a case I intend to make early and often as this next session takes shape."

SOURCE House Republican Whip Roy Blunt