Venezuela breaks off diplomatic ties with Colombia

Venezuela breaks off diplomatic ties with Colombia
# 23 July 2010 01:26 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Thursday that his country breaks off the diplomatic relations with Colombia, APA reports quoting Xinhua News Agency.
"For dignity we do not have other option but to sever diplomatic ties with Colombia," Chavez said after Colombia presented to the Organization of American States (OAS) the accusations about the alleged presence of Colombian guerrilla chiefs in Venezuelan territory.
At the moment of the announcement, Chavez had a meeting with Argentine soccer coach and former player Diego Maradona, at the Miraflores Palace, headquarters of the Venezuelan government.
With this measure, it was fulfilled the announcement made by Chavez on July 16 about severing ties with Colombia.
Chavez regretted the measure due to the historical ties between the two countries, as they share a border line of 2,120 kilometers.
"We will be on alert, I have ordered maximum alert in our border," Chavez said. He added that Colombia is obeying the United States and warned about the risk that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe goes for launching a military raid at the border.
Chavez added that Uribe is able to do anything to promote a conflict against Venezuela.
"Uribe is a threat for peace. He is even able to establish a faked camp in our territory and raid it to start a war," Chavez said.
On Thursday, Colombia presented to the OAS, during an extraordinary meeting of the Permanent Council, "proofs" of the presence of Colombian guerrilla chiefs in Venezuelan territory.
Colombia accused Venezuela of "allowing the presence of Colombian guerrillas in its territory," and urged the international community to form a commission to verify the presence of guerrillas in Venezuela in no more than 30 days.
Colombian ambassador to the OAS, Luis Alfonso Hoyos said that Venezuela has not done anything against the "1,500 Colombian guerrillas" operating there.
Venezuelan ambassador to the OAS Roy Chaderton said that these accusations "will be a very interesting precedent for this forum ( OAS) ... if we go visiting each one of our countries to talk about internal problems."
Chaderton said that Colombia’s accusations against Venezuela are a "media circus" and a "montage" as the proofs presented are " of evident lies" which are set in "danger and compromise the bilateral ties."
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan National Assembly (NA) also supported the decision of Chavez of breaking off diplomatic ties with Colombia.
Leader of the Legislative Power Cilia Flores told reporters that Venezuela had showed in several occasions concrete actions to avoid breaking off ties with Colombia, but Colombian President Alvaro Uribe "has failed and goes through the back door."
"We hope to retake the ties with the Colombian people, with whom we have strong ties," Flores added.
Meanwhile, the president of the electoral power Tibisay Lucena also supported Chavez’s decision and said that Colombian observers will not come to his country for the coming legislative elections on Sept. 26.
However, visiting Colombian Vice President-elect Angelino Garzon said in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, on Thursday that the future government of Colombia’s President-elect Juan Manuel Santos will seek "all the diplomatic mechanisms" to normalize the ties with the countries in the region, after knowing the announcement made by Chavez.
After having a meeting with Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno, Garzon said that "since Aug. 7, we, led by Santos as future president of Colombia, will make all the possibilities and use all the friends we have in several countries of the world, and will seek all the diplomatic mechanisms to improve and strengthen the ties with all the countries of the region, including Venezuela. "
Garzon said that Santos, who will be inaugurated on Aug. 7, is aimed to strengthen ties with Colombia’s neighboring governments, during his administration.
"The message we want to give to peoples and governments is unity, friendship, cooperation and peace," Garzon said.
Venezuela froze ties with Colombia on July 28, 2009. Later in the same year Venezuela expressed its rejection on the Colombia-U. S. military cooperation agreement signed in October 2009, which allows the presence of U.S. troops in Colombian bases.