Spain offers help to Colombia to resolve diplomatic crisis

June 19th, 2008 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Caracas, June 19 (IANS) Spain has said it is ready to mediate in resolving the diplomatic row among Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador that erupted following a military raid by the Colombian army on Ecuadorian soil. Madrid’s willingness was conveyed by Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, during his visit to Caracas, to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Tuesday, EFE reported Thursday.

Moratinos said Spain is ready to offer Colombia a helping hand to restore diplomatic ties with Venezuela and Ecuador, which had fallen out with Bogota after the latter’s cross-border attack on March 1 on a hideout of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The Spanish minister also called on the leftist rebel group to disarm and release all the hostages in its captivity.

He said Spain and Venezuela have made new progress in bilateral relations that were shadowed after the spat between Chavez and the Spanish king Juan Carlos at the Latin American summit in Chile in November.

The Spanish monarch told the voluble Venezuelan leader to shut up during a tense moment at the gathering in Santiago.

“The two governments are now committed to improving bilateral relations through an agenda of progress, commitment and solidarity,” Moratinos said.

Moratinos thanked Chavez and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, for supporting him in the endeavour for improving bilateral relations.

“We’ve turned a page of misunderstanding that nobody wanted and nobody sought,” the Spanish minister said, alluding to the chill in bilateral ties following the November incident.

In the past, under the leadership of socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain had sold transport aircraft and patrol vessels to Venezuela despite objections from the US.

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