The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) asked Venezuela and Colombia to re-establish a dialogue, following the amassing of Venezuelan troops on the northern border and reports that Colombia will do the same.
“The common problems must be solved together and the differences should be settled through diplomatic channels,” Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said in a press release.
Insulza’s call followed reports that Colombia plans to send 12,000 troops to the border with Venezuela before the end of this year.
Colombia was responding to an order by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to his armed forces to amass 15,000 troops on the border.
Venezuela also sent 2,000 troops to its south-west border with Colombia, the Governor of Arauca, Luis Eduardo Ataya advised authorities Tuesday.
Ataya said that traffic to and from the border was delayed two to three hours due to check point set up by Venezuelan authorities at three and five kilometer intervals.
The border between Venezuela and Colombia has caused numerous clashes between the two countries over the years as it is used by left wing guerrillas, right wing paramilitaries and drug gangs to seek refuge from Colombian authorities or to traffick drugs meant for export to the U.S. and Europe.
Colombia accuses Venezuela of allowing guerrillas to enter Venezuela freely, while Venezuela accuses Colombia of sending paramilitaries to its territory to destabilize the country.
Relations between the two nations deteriorated further after Colombia and the U.S signed a military pact that grants the U.S. access to seven bases in Colombia.
Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe last Wednesday urged Venezuela not to create divisions like the “Berlin Wall” between the feuding neighbors.
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva offered last week to arrange a meeting between Uribe and Chavez in a bid to repair relations between the two countries.