Colombia's new president seeks to reset ties with neighbors

10:51, August 08, 2010      

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Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos speaks after being sworn-in during his inauguration ceremony in Bogota, Colombia, Aug. 7, 2010. Santos takes office as Colombia's new president on Saturday afternoon, taking over the power from Alvaro Uribe. (Xinhua)

Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday vowed to reset ties with neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador and continue the fight against illegal armed groups, as he was sworn in as new president.

In his inaugural speech in Bogota, Santos said one of his priorities is to reset bilateral ties with Venezuela and Ecuador.

"One of my fundamental aims as president, will be to reset ties with Venezuela and Ecuador, to restore the trust and to privilege the diplomacy and the prudence," Santos said.

Ecuador severed ties with Colombia in March 2008, after the Colombian Army carried out a raid against a guerilla camp in Ecuador, which was seen by Quito as a violation of its territorial sovereignty.

Venezuela broke off diplomatic ties with Colombia last month after the government of outgoing President Alvaro Uribe accused Venezuela of hosting Colombian guerilla chiefs in its territory.

"When I think about the ties of Colombia with its neighbors or any other nation in the planet, the word war is not in my book (dictionary) ," Santos said.

Santos also vowed to continue the fight against illegal armed groups in the country -- which include right-wing paramilitaries, left-wing rebels and drug gangs -- who have been fighting the state over the past half century.

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