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Published:March 10th, 2008 09:15 EST
Sooner rather than later, Venezuela embraces Columbia

Sooner rather than later, Venezuela embraces Columbia

By SOP newswire

Venezuela has announced it is restoring diplomatic ties with Colombia, a week after it cut relations over Bogota's cross-border raid into Ecuardor.

The presidents of Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia agreed Friday to peacefully end the dispute at a meeting of the Rio Group in the Dominican Republic. Colombia apologized for its incursion and promised to respect Ecuador's sovereignty.

In a radio address Saturday, Ecuador's president Rafael Correa said he will not immediately restore diplomatic relations with neighboring Colombia, saying it will take time.

The Colombian raid inside Ecuador killed a key leader in the powerful leftist FARC rebel group. Ecuador and Venezuela responded to the raid by taking diplomatic action against Colombia and sending troops along their borders with Colombia.

During the dispute, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe accused Venezuela of financing and supporting the FARC, a group the United States considers a terrorist organization. Venezuela denied the charge.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on the FARC to release high-profile captive Ingrid Betancourt, who was kidnapped six years ago. Mr. Chavez has participated in recent successful hostage negotiations with the FARC.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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