Colombia asks OAS to discuss dispute with Venezuela over rebels

10:38, July 17, 2010      

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Colombia on Friday requested the Organization of American States (OAS) to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the alleged presence of Colombian rebels in Venezuelan territory.

"The Government of Colombia has requested the Organization of American States to convene, as soon as possible, a special meeting of the Permanent Council to examine the presence of Colombian terrorists in Venezuelan territory," said the statement from Colombia's presidential office.

"This request is due to the innumerable failed efforts to solve this grave problem through direct dialogue with Venezuela," it said.

The move came after Venezuela rejected Bogota's allegation that some important leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are hiding in the neighboring country.

In another development, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said Friday his country has recalled its ambassador to Colombia after Bogota accused it of sheltering Colombian rebels.

Colombia on Thursday accused Venezuela of tolerating Colombian rebels who cross into Venezuelan territory to seek shelter.

"The reason for the deterioration of relations between Venezuela and Colombia is the continued and permanent tolerance of the presence of terrorists in that country," said Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva.

Venezuela rejected the charges Friday.

"This is a desperate attempt to undermine the ground for an eventual normalization of bilateral relations," Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We hope the new government will accept as a top priority the proposal of a Colombia peace plan, which will let all of us in South America usher in a lasting solution to the armed conflict that affect our brother country," it said.



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