Ecuador expels Colombian envoy over cross-border action

March 3rd, 2008 - 11:51 am ICT by admin  

(Second lead, changing dateline)
Quito, March 3 (Xinhua) Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has ordered immediate expulsion of Colombia’s ambassador to protest Colombia’s cross-border anti-rebel attack. He also ordered troop reinforcement at the border with Colombia.

“The Ecuadorian territory has been outraged and bombed by an air attack and the later incursion of (Colombian) troops,” Correa told a news conference.

“I decided on the immediate expulsion of Colombia’s ambassador in Ecuador,” he said, adding, “I have ordered the mobilisation of troops to the northern border and convened an urgent meeting of the National Security Council Monday.”

Correa also said he had “called for an immediate meeting” of the Organisation of American States and the Andean Community of nations.

Earlier Sunday, Correa recalled Ecuador’s ambassador from Colombia.

The Colombian military killed Raul Reyes, one of the seven-member secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest rebel group, in an attack on a jungle camp across the Colombia-Ecuador border Saturday.

The Colombian government Sunday accused Correa of having ties with the FARC.

A Colombian presidential spokesman told reporters that the documents found by the police and Colombian forces from three computers belonging to Raul Reyes “show strong evidence that the president of Ecuador (Correa) has relations with the FARC”.

Protesting the killing of Reyes, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the closer of the Venezuelan embassy in Bogota and sent 10 battalions of troops to the country’s border with Colombia.

The Venezuelan president said the Colombian action could be the “beginning of a war in South America” and ordered the military, including tanks and aircraft, to the border area.

“We don’t want war, but we will never allow the Imperium (as he refers to the US) or its lapdog to weaken us,” Chavez said.

He also called Colombian President Alvaro Uribe “a criminal” who rules his country with “a band of criminals”.

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