Rio Group mounts diplomatic offensive to resolve Andean crisis

March 7th, 2008 - 6:14 pm ICT by admin  

Santo Domingo, March 7 (IANS) Foreign ministers of the 20-nation Rio Group Friday started their 20th summit focussing on ways to defuse the crisis arising out of Colombia’s cross-border raid on the hideouts of the country’s leftist rebels in Ecuador, EFE news agency reported. While the crisis was not on the official agenda of the summit that would discuss energy, development and natural disasters, diplomatic efforts were mounted to explore ways the group could bring the Andean adversaries to the negotiating table.

Officials in the Dominican Republic capital said Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez, an open sympathiser of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe would attend a dinner hosted by Dominican president Leonel Fernandez.

Uribe is scheduled to meet Fernandez, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.

“I am confident that today and tomorrow each nation represented here will sit down at the table with the will and the spirit to overcome and respect our differences and consolidate our agreements,” Dominican Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso said inaugurating the session.

The foreign minister said he trusted the mediation of Fernandez, who is considered a friend of the three Andean presidents, Chavez, Uribe and Rafael Correa of Ecuador.

Chile’s Alejandro Foxley hailed the declaration Wednesday of the Organization of American States (OAS) to send a commission comprising representatives from eight countries to the area where the military operation against Colombia’s FARC rebels was carried out.

Foxley emphasized that two principles had to be kept in mind: full respect for the sovereignty of nations and, at the same time, refusing to accept allowing irregular armed forces to penetrate the borders of other countries to generate instability.

The OAS Wednesday approved a resolution establishing that Bogota violated Ecuador’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the military operation that resulted in the death of FARC’s second-in-command Raul Reyes, and it agreed to create a commission to resolve the crisis.

The Rio Group was founded in 1986 to promote dialogue, integration and political cooperation among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

It comprises Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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