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| 7/30/2009 12:00:00 AM

OAS Chief: Diplomacy Needed to Resolve Spat

Jul 30--The head of the Organization of American States urged Venezuela on Wednesday not to break off diplomatic relations with Colombia or take other drastic steps amid escalating tensions between the two South American neighbors.

OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza said he was concerned by President Hugo Chavez's decision Tuesday to recall the Venezuelan ambassador from Bogota over Colombia's statement that anti-tank weapons found in a rebel arms cache came from Venezuela.

''I hope these announcements will not be fulfilled,'' Insulza said of Chavez's threat to sever diplomatic relations completely, bring commerce to a standstill and seize control of Colombian-owned businesses in Venezuela.

''I wish that a dialogue can be started to allow both sides discussing their differences in a fraternal environment, which is how differences should be dealt with between two fellow countries,'' Insulza added.

Chavez recalled his envoy in response to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's complaint over the weekend that anti-tank rocket launchers sold to Venezuela's military by Sweden during the 1980s were obtained by Colombia's main rebel group, the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
 
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EDICIÓN 1855

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