Bush denounces Venezuela, supports Colombia in crisis

March 5th, 2008 - 3:25 am ICT by admin  

Washington, March 5 (DPA) US President George W. Bush Tuesday has backed Colombia in a standoff with neighbouring Venezuela over a leftist rebel group. Bush denounced Tuesday Venezuela’s moving of troops to the Colombian border as “provocative” and said the government of Colombia was under a “continuing assault by narcoterrorists”.

Bush had telephoned Uribe who had earlier said that the long-awaited Congressional approval for the US-Colombia free trade act would be the most important sign of US support.

The approval is being held up by Democrats who say the Colombian government does not provide enough protection for trade unions.

“I told the president that America fully supports Colombia’s democracy and that we firmly oppose any acts of aggression that could destabilize the region,” Bush said.

“I told him that America would continue to stand with Colombia as it confronts violence and terror and fights drug traffickers.”

“The free trade agreement will show the Colombian people that democracy and free enterprise lead to a better life,” Bush said. “It will help President Uribe counter the radical vision of those who are seeking to undermine democracy and create divisions within our hemisphere.”

Although Bush did not name the rebel group he called “narcoterrorists”, Colombia has been fighting a four-decade-long war against the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is involved in Colombia’s drug trade and has kidnapped hundreds of public officials and private citizens, killed some of them and bartered for ransom for others.

Colombia’s raid across the border into Ecuador Saturday to kill FARC’s second-in-command has triggered tension in the region. Ecuador and Venezuela, which has close ties to FARC and has called for it to be given political legitimacy, have sent troops to the border.

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