Venezuela hopes to find peaceful end to tensions with Colombia

July 27, 2010 10:48 am 

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 — Venezuela on Monday voiced its hope that the new Colombian government will work with Caracas to find a peaceful solution to the tensions between the two Latin American neighbors.

The statement came as Jorge Valero, the UN ambassador of Venezuela, was speaking to reporters here after Venezuela cut off diplomatic ties with neighboring Colombia on Thursday.

"We hope that the new government of Mr. (Juan Manuel) Santos change their world policy and join the Venezuelan government to find out a peaceful solution," he said.

Santos was elected new president of Colombia on June 21.

"Latin America's experience shows that the only way to find out when a government, a country, faces a situation like the one Columbia is facing at the moment is through dialogue, through diplomatic mechanism," he said.

Colombian diplomats are not available for comments.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday announced that his country breaks off the diplomatic relations with Colombia after Bogota presented to the Organization of American States (OAS) the accusations about the alleged presence of Colombian guerrilla chiefs in Venezuelan territory.

Earlier this week, Colombia said Swedish-made weapons bought by Venezuela during the 1980s had ended up in the hands of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, who have been fighting the Bogota government for more than four decades.

The move further raised tensions between the two neighboring countries after Chavez previously called a stronger military relationship between Colombia and the United States a threat to his country.

Colombia announced earlier this month that the United States would use three bases in Colombia to fight drug trafficking in the country.

Valero also accused the United States and Colombia of "increasing the war in Latin America."

Last Thursday, UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon voiced his hope that Colombia and Venezuela can iron out their differences through dialogue.

A statement, issued here by Ban's spokesman, said: "The secretary-general hopes that the differences between Colombia and Venezuela will be worked out through dialogue."

"He calls for restraint by all involved so that the situation can be resolved in a peaceful manner," the statement added. (PNA/Xinhua)

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