OAS: No action on Venezuela FARC allegations
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 14:28 Kirsten Begg
Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said Wednesday the international body has done everything it can to help patch up relations between Colombia and Venezuela.
“The [Colombian] petition has been presented … there’s nothing else that can be done,”Insulza said. He added that the OAS can not bring up the issue again “unless the Venezuelan government were to respond to it in the next few days.”
“I did the only thing I can do as secretary general of the OAS or any other international organization that is asked to participate in a bilateral matter, which is to pass a request from one to the other,” Insulza said following a meeting in Bogota with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
Insulza was referring to the presentation the former government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe made to the OAS on July 22 regarding allegations that Venezuela was harboring Colombian guerrillas within its borders. The OAS officially passed the claims on to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who immediately cut all ties with Colombia.
Santos and Chavez agreed to normalize ties at a meeting in the Colombian port of Santa Marta on August 10. Last Friday the countries’ foreign ministers set up five bilateral commissions, whose aim will be to resolve long-standing issues, particularly in terms of security, border control, and trade between the two countries.
Insulza also praised moves by both Colombia and Ecuador to restore ties that were severed in 2008, after a Colombian military incursion onto Ecuadorean soil in pursuit of FARC guerrillas. The Colombian army bombed a guerrilla camp, killing FARC leader “Raul Reyes” but Ecuador cut ties, saying that Colombia had undermined its sovereignty.
“We are encouraging the the strengthening of relations between Ecuador and Colombia, and between Colombia and Venezuela,” Insulza said, adding that “the steps being taken by the government of President Santos and Foreign Minister [Maria Angela] Holguin may produce a substantial improvement in relations.”
“We are absolutely in favor of the creation of a neighborly climate in relations between all the countries in the region,” Insulza finished by saying.
Insulza arrived in Bogota Tuesday as part of a tour of Latin American and the Caribbean. He will leave Colombia for Haiti on Thursday.