Colombian new president resets ties with Venezuela, Ecuador, gets positive response

07:57, August 09, 2010      

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday vowed to reset ties with neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador, and the two countries also expressed their willingness to restore ties with Colombia.

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 raided a guerilla camp in Ecuador. Quito accused Colombia of violating 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 leaders in its territory.

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

Shortly after Santos was sworn in, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed his willingness to reset ties with Colombia.

"I am ready to turn over the page completely and look to the future with hope," said Chavez in a live broadcast speech on state TV.

Chavez told a rally in west Venezuela that he also wanted to have a face-to-face meeting with Santos to discuss the diplomatic crisis between the two neighbors.

However, Chavez warned that no reconciliation effort could work if the Santos government repeated the accusations against Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Ecuador is also seeking to restore diplomatic ties with Colombia.

"I think things are going well for a complete restoration of diplomatic ties," Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said in Bogota Saturday after meeting with President Santos.

Santos was wanted in Ecuador for his role in ordering a cross-border raid in Ecuador in March 2008. Santos served as defense minister at that time. However, Correa said Santos can go to his country without fear of prosecution.

"I hope he does it soon," said Correa at Santos' inauguration ceremony.

He said Colombia's new government has presented information to Ecuador from a computer of a rebel leader, who died in the bomb attack in 2008.

"A computer from one of them was already given to us and they will give us the information about the bombing in the following days," said Correa.

Source: Xinhua


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