Salvadoran leftist rebels Saturday blasted U.S. policy in Panama and said they are willing to battle alongside the Panamanian people to beat back U.S. "aggression."

"We are willing to fight together with the Panamanian people and so contribute to defeat the new North American aggression in Latin America," the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN, said in a six-point statement, signed by five rebel commanders, broadcast on the clandestine Radio Venceremos.In their statement, the FMLN commanders harshly criticized U.S. policy saying the United States is trying to become the "sole chooser of the government" in Panama, which they said is a "sovereign and independent" nation.

The statement calls on Latin American governments not to collaborate with President Bush's government, "because this would mean a definitive break in the peace negotiating process now going on in Central America with the help of a sizable group of Latin American nations," and would only help the United States renew its "big stick" policy in Latin America.

The statement said that if the step of a more direct aggression from the United States is taken this "would irretrievably regionalize the war in Central America."

The statement reiterated the FMLN's solidarity with the government and people of Panama in their struggle to "recover sovereignty over the Canal" in the face of "North American interventionist escalation."

Meanwhile, Salvadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Acevedo Peralta said Friday night that if the crisis in Panama continues it was "very possible and very viable" that El Salvador would break off diplomatic relations with Panama.