According to Colombian advisors, a lawsuit Colombian President Álvaro Uribe plans to file with the International Criminal Court against his Venezuelan counterpart would deepen the conflict
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe accepted to analyze with a jurists commission charges against his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez that Bogota intends to file with the International Criminal Court "for sponsorship and funding of genocidal" groups, former Colombian President Ernesto Samper said.
With a democratic spirit, Uribe accepted the suggestion and promised to hold consultations with a jurists commission to revise or examine his accusation, Samper told Radio Caracol, as quoted by Efe.
The former liberal President (1994-1998) said this resulted from a meeting of the Advisor Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held last Tuesday at the presidential palace of Casa Nariño.
The Advisor Committee is composed by former Colombian presidents. Six members are elected by the National Congress -three of them by the Senate and three by the Chamber of Representatives- and two are named by the Colombian president.
The committee discussed with Uribe the diplomatic crisis Colombia is facing with its neighbor counties Ecuador and Venezuela, following a military attack by the Colombian Army on a camp of the rebel Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) in Ecuador where the FARC number-two Luis Edgar Davia, better known as Raúl Reyes, was killed.
During the meeting, the committee requested President Uribe to redefine his accusation against Chávez, Samper said.
"Colombia plans to file with the International Criminal Court a lawsuit against Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, for sponsorship and funding of genocidal" groups, Uribe told journalists.
Likewise, on March 3, the Colombian government said they intended to request the Organization of American States (OAS) an investigation into a grant of USD 300 million the Venezuelan government made to the FARC, as well as a supply of arms.
The alleged supply of money to the FARC and the "gift" of weapons were denounced after the Colombian army found data in Raúl Reyes' computers following the attack on the rebel camp in Ecuador.
Samper also reported that during the meeting of the committee "different" stances were expressed regarding the operation of the Colombian army in the Ecuadorian territory. However, there was a consensus on backing all necessary steps to bring relations with Ecuador and Venezuela back to normal.
In a statement, the committee rejected the fact that neighbor countries offer shelter to terrorist groups in their territories.
Ecuador decided to cut off diplomatic relations with Colombia on Monday following Colombia's raid in its territory on Saturday that killed Reyes and other 23 rebels.
Meanwhile, Venezuela expelled all the diplomatic staff of the Colombian Embassy in Caracas, headed by Ambassador Fernando Marín Valencia.
Colombia's vice-president denounces alliances
Colombian vice-president Francisco Santos Calderón told European Union chief diplomat Javier Solana that it is imperative to take bold actions to put an end to the aid that, according to him, Venezuela provides to the guerrilla.
"The commitment of Hugo Chávez's government to the FARC, which is evident, clear and for the first time proven, must be an issue of public, international discussion," Santos said following a meeting with Solana.
As long as this close relation prevails -in which funding, shelter and political and economic support are provided- Colombia will resort to all the legal and political, but not military, mechanisms to combat the guerrilla.
The vice-president said that the alleged "alliance" between Chávez and the FARC is a "continental project" that entails a long range "threat."
"It is an ideological, military and political project that uses violence with the aim of imposing their vision of the world over the democratic dictates," Santos said about the link between Venezuela and the guerrilla groups.
Santos made a difference between Venezuela and Ecuador, declaring that while relations with Quito may be recovered, it will be "very difficult" to reach a diplomatic solution with Caracas.
Translated by Teresa León