Nicaragua breaks off Colombia ties

Nicaragua joins Valenzuela and Ecuador in and anti-Colombian stance

Daniel Ortega, the Nicaraguan president, has said he will break off diplomatic relations with Colombia over its raid on a Farc rebel camp inside Ecuador at the weekend.

Ortega said he was ending relations with Bogota “in solidarity” with Ecuador, whose president, Rafael Correa, was on a visit to Nicaragua amid regional tension over the raid.

“We are breaking off relations because of the political terrorism being carried out by the government of Alvaro Uribe, not because of the Colombian people,” Ortega said alongside Correa in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital, on Thursday.

Regional tensions have risen following the raid, in which a senior Farc leader was killed and Ecuador and Venezuela have sent troops to their Colombian borders.

‘Colombian aggression’

Correa called on the Rio Group of regional powers, which represents 20 Latin American states, to formally condemn the raid at a summit in the Dominican Republic.

He urged the group to “clearly condemn the Colombian aggression in Ecuador and oblige this government to never dare again to assault a brother country”.

Uribe, the Colombian president, is to attend the summit, where he hopes to persuade his fellow Latin American leaders he had to act against the Farc himself because Ecuador allows the group’s fighters to take refuge there.

Attempting to ease the diplomatic crisis, the Organisation of American States (OAS) approved a resolution on Wednesday that called the Colombian operation a violation of Ecuadorean sovereignty.

Correa, however, said the resolution was not enough.

Diplomatic pressure

Latin American Leaders have travelled across the region to put diplomatic pressure on Uribe.

His government has played down fears that the raid could spark the first military conflict between Latin American nations in more than a decade.

“I don’t think there is a risk of war. The Colombian government has been very clear it won’t use force,” Francisco Santos, the Colombian vice-president, said during a visit to Brussells for talks with EU officials.

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state who was also in Brussells, said she would probably discuss the issue during a visit to Brazil and Chile next week.

“The United States stands strongly for the diplomatic resolution of these recent set of circumstances … I do hope there will be a diplomatic outcome to this,” she said.

George Bush, the US president, has vowed to stand by Uribe, who receives billions of dollars in US military aid to fight the Farc [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] and drug traffickers.

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, met Correa on Wednesday and called the Colombian raid a “war crime”, but said he is committed to peace.

Cristina Fernandez, the Argentinian president, also went to Caracas on Wednesday to underline her support for Chavez.

Chavez said the dispute will hurt the $6 billion in annual trade between Venezuela and Colombia.

He also threatened to nationalise Colombian firms in Venezuela.

//al jazeera//

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Posted in Bush Adminisration, Colombia, Dipomacy, International Relations, South America, US Foreign Policy

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