WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government Monday rejected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's call for the international community to remove the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from a list of terrorist groups.
"Look, they earned their way on to the terrorism list," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters, noting the FARC continues to hold many hostages, including three Americans, despite the release of two Colombian politicians last week.
"I'm not aware of any substantial change in a pattern of behavior by the FARC that would merit their being taken off the list." McCormack said.
Washington remains concerned about the three American hostages, contractors in anti-drug operations who were captured by the FARC after their plane was shot down in 2003, he said.
"They should be released, unconditionally, so that they can be reunited with their families." McCormack said
The spokesman made the remarks after Chavez said Friday that Colombia, Latin American and European countries should clear the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) of Colombia from the terrorism list and grant them political status.
"They are real armies that hold a space in Colombia," Chavez told the national legislative assembly.
Chavez said the FARC and the ELN were put on the terrorism listof some countries because of pressure from Washington.
Chavez and his government have been at odds with the U.S. government, accusing the Bush administration of threatening to invade Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations trying to get rid of its influence.