Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he received a new message from Colombia's largest rebel group as he mediates a standoff between the leftist rebels and the Colombian government.

Mr. Chavez said the message received Friday is from Manuel Marulanda, the commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. He did not reveal the details of the letter.

The Venezuelan leader is trying to secure an exchange of FARC-held hostages for imprisoned rebels. He says he is ready to meet with a FARC representative to accomplish that goal.

The rebels' hostages include soldiers, police officers, French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans.

A Colombian senator (Piedad Cordova) initially asked Mr. Chavez to act as a mediator, a role that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe later approved.

Some information for this report provided by AP.