Chavez breaks off relations with Colombia
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke off his country's relations with neighbouring Colombia Thursday over allegations that Colombian rebels were operating in Venezuela, dpa reported.
Colombia alleged at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington that the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were operating from Venezuelan territory.
Chavez accused Colombia along with the United States of hoping to wage war with Venezuela.
"The government of (Colombian President Alvaro) Uribe was militant, lying and aggressive," Chavez said, while meeting with Argentine football star Diego Maradona.
At the special meeting of the OAS, representatives from both countries exchanged barbs.
Colombian Luis Alonso Hoyos called on the government in Caracas to to take immediate measures against the rebels, who have waged a decades long-battle with the Colombian government.
He also called for an international comission to be sent to Venezuela.
Venezuela's ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, rejected the allegations that his government was allowing FARC to operate out of Venezuela and called for a comission to investigate US military installations in Colombia that are aimed at fighting the illegal drug trade.
The neighbouring South American countries have sparred for years over the rebel group and US anti-drug trafficking efforts in the region.
Uribe is to be replaced as leader on August 7 by his ally and former defence minister Juan Manuel Santos, who is expected to continue on the same political course.
US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley stressed the need for both countries to "work to reduce mutual suspicion and to fully implement their commitments under applicable anti-terrorist treaties and resolutions of the UN and OAS."
"I don't think that severing ties or communication is the proper way to achieve that end," he said.