Nicaragua breaks diplomatic relations with Colombia

March 7th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by admin  

Managua (Nicaragua), March 7 (DPA) The crisis over a cross-border raid by Colombian forces into Ecuador continued to escalate as Nicaragua broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia “in solidarity with Ecuador”. The raid by Colombian forces into Ecuador last Saturday, which claimed the lives of Raul Reyes - second-in-command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - and 23 other rebels, has provoked great tension between Colombia and its neighbours, Ecuador and Venezuela.

Ecuador and Venezuela broke diplomatic relations with Colombia over the raid and sent extra troops to their borders with that country to protest the action. Venezuela also closed its Colombian border to trade.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega broke ties with Bogota after meeting Ecuador’s Rafael Correa Thursday in Managua, amid a diplomatic offensive by the Ecuadorian president in search of support.

“We are breaking with the terrorist policy of the government of Alvaro Uribe, not with the Colombian people,” Ortega said.

He said he would withdraw diplomatic personnel from Bogota and would ask the Colombian government to take its representatives out of Nicaragua within a few hours.

Correa thanked Nicaragua for its “show of solidarity”.

Correa insisted that the crisis is not the result of a bilateral issue but rather a “regional problem”, and stressed that the Colombian government “can destabilise the whole of Latin America”.

Many Latin American presidents including Correa, Colombia’s Uribe and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez were expected to attend the Rio Group summit in Santo Domingo later Friday.

Correa said Ecuador expects a “clear condemnation” of Colombia’s action both from the Rio Group and from the Organisation of American States (OAS).

“I call to my Latin American brothers to make decisions tomorrow (Friday) in Santo Domingo: to condemn the Colombian aggression on Ecuador clearly and to force that government never again to dare to attack a brother-country under any pretext,” Correa said Thursday.

The Permanent Council of OAS Wednesday approved a resolution, which states Colombia violated Ecuador’s sovereignty with the raid.

The text did not include a condemnation of the Colombian military operation Saturday on Ecuadorian soil, but did feature an explicit acknowledgement that Colombia violated Ecuadorian territory.

The US Thursday praised the OAS move as a “positive way forward”, but criticised Venezuela’s role in the issue that the US maintains is only between Colombia and Ecuador.

Correa said the OAS resolution “was a step”, but stressed that Ecuador was expecting a “clear condemnation” at the foreign ministers’ meeting that OAS called for March 17.

Earlier Thursday, Colombian media reported - based on information in computers seized by Colombian authorities at FARC camp in Ecuador - that the rebels do not quite trust the Ecuadorian government and think one of the ministers in Correa’s government is a “CIA spy”.

The contents of the computers found in FARC’s possession have been revealed in recent days and according to Colombian authorities show support for FARC from the governments of Ecuador and Venezuela.

On Monday, Colombian Police Director Oscar Naranjo charged that Venezuela had given $300 million to FARC. The computers also yielded evidence that FARC had traded 50 kg of uranium and sent illegal drugs to Mexico, Naranjo said. Venezuela has denied the allegations.

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