Colombia denies Chávez's accusations that it plans to invade Venezuela
One day after Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez ordered troops sent to the border, Colombia denied Saturday that it had any intention of invading its 'brother country.'
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"Colombia has never thought of attacking its brother nation [Venezuela] as the president of that country says, in a clear political deception of his own country," Colombian President Álvaro Uribe's office said in a statement issued Saturday.
Colombia will, however, continue to insist that Venezuela stop harboring members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), even though Chávez has consistently denied any collusion with the leftist rebels that have fought the Colombian government for decades.
"Colombia has gone to the channels of international law and will continue insisting on those mechanisms so there is an instrument to make the Venezuelan government comply with its obligations not to harbor Colombian terrorists," said the statement.
Relations between the two nations have soured in recent days after Mr. Uribe presented evidence that Mr. Chávez is harboring the FARC. On Friday, Chávez declared that he had ordered Venezuelan troops to the border in response to a perceived threat from Colombian forces.
The latest round of sabre-rattling between Uribe and Chávez was spurred ten days ago when Colombia presented evidence to the Organization of American States (OAS) of FARC forces camped within Venezuelan borders. The Christian Science Monitor reported that the tensions were such that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint and several South American nations offered to mediate the dispute.
But The Washington Post reported yesterday that an emergency meeting of South American foreign ministers in Quito, Ecuador, ended Friday without resolution of the diplomatic crisis, and that the relationship between the two nations is "in tatters."