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Colombia recalls Caracas ambassador in rebel feud

Colombia recalled its ambassador to Caracas in a fresh escalation of the diplomatic feud over Bogota's claim that leftist rebels fighting its government were operating in Venezuela.

world Updated: Jul 22, 2010 13:30 IST

Colombia recalled its ambassador to Caracas in a fresh escalation of the diplomatic feud over Bogota's claim that leftist rebels fighting its government were operating in Venezuela.

The Colombia foreign ministry said on Wednesday, ambassador Maria Luisa Chiappe would be called back to Bogota "to evaluate the situation" as the government prepared to bring its complaint to the Washington-based Organisation of American states.

The move came days after Venezuela recalled its ambassador to Bogota following claims from Colombia's president that leftist rebel leaders fighting his government were in the neighbouring South American nation.

Colombia's outgoing President Alvaro Uribe, who leaves office in August, said last week his government had evidence that five leaders of leftist guerrilla groups were in Venezuela.

Uribe's office is contending the rebel leaders in Venezuela include four key members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and one from the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN), both of which have been waging an armed campaign against the Colombian government since the mid-1960s.

Colombia was set to present its evidence on Thursday to the OAS in Washington.

Colombia and Venezuela froze diplomatic ties in 2009 after Bogota and Washington inked a military cooperation agreement Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez considered a threat to regional security.

Chavez has accused Uribe of trying to thwart a normalisation of relations when the Colombian leader leaves office August 7.

Uribe, who has had tense relations with his Venezuelan counterpart, will be succeeded by his former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos, who has signaled a less hostile approach to Caracas.