Colombian Congressmen expressed their satisfaction that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had changed his tone in regards to relations with Colombia. The socialist President claims that his orders to prepare for war were misinterpreted.
Chavez said on his radio and television program ‘Hello President’, that his words “if you want peace, prepare for war” were “an adage, a saying” that had been misunderstood.
“They are accusing me everywhere of calling for war, I have simply called to my people and my soldiers to be more prepared to defend this country because of the threat of the seven bases in Colombia,” Chavez said.
“This is not about declaring war to Colombia, it is about defending our sovereignty,” he added.
Senators Manuel Guillermo and Armando Bendetti said that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe had expressed his satisfaction and relief at Venezuela’s retraction during a closed government meeting, called to evaluate Colombia’s position if Chavez were to start a war, CM& reported.
“This demonstration by Mr President Chavez is a good sign that diplomatic delegates from both countries will meet as soon as possible,” said Congressman Jaime Dussan.
Colombia’s satisfaction at Venezuela’s change of course follows Chavez’s announcement last weekend that his country’s people and army should be prepared for war with Colombia.The Venezuelan President had also announced he was sending 15,000 troops to the border.
Colombia countered, saying it planned to send 12,000 troops to the same border.
The United States and Brazil on Tuesday called on the leaders of the two quarrelling nations to talk and find a diplomatic way out of the tense situation.
The relation between the two countries deteriorated rapidly after Colombia anounced a new military pact with the United States, allowing the Americans to use military bases and civilian airports for antiterrorism and counternarcotics operations.