Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe will attend the UNASUR summit on November 26 but will not talk to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, confirmed the Foreign Minister on Wednesday.
The Foreign Minister, Jaime Bermudez, announced that Uribe will attend the climate change summit for Latin American nations in Brazil’s city of Manaus next Thursday however, he stated that the President’s primary objective will be discussing climate change and not meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez.
Brazil’s President Lula da Silva proposed that Latin American nations organized the meeting ahead of the Copenhagen global climate change summit in December, in order to devise a united front.
Lula further proposed that Colombia and Venezuela use the meeting next Thursday as a chance to settle their differences however, Bermudez asserted that for Colombia, this was out of the question and not the objective.
According to newspaper El Tiempo Colombia’s government has decided to preserve “national dignity” by saying nothing to Chavez, who at the weekend described Uribe as “mafia” and “a friend of Pablo Escobar.”
Bermudez further stated that he himself would “probably” be present at the UNASUR summit for Councillors and Defense Ministers on November 27 but he heavily criticized the Latin American organization for taking no action when Chavez launched war threats against Colombia two weeks ago.
“It is dissappointing that UNASUR, which promotes precisely … tranquility, stability and peace in the region, has not said anything about [the war threats],” he declared.
Former Foreign Minister Guillermo Fernandez de Soto asserted that Colombia “rejects the language Chavez used and calls upon international involvement to overcome the differences. This is not to rally international allies [against Venezuela] but to report a serious situation.”
Venezuela froze relations with Colombia in late July following a military agreement between Colombia and Washington which allows U.S. military access to airbases throughout Colombian territory.
Tension heightened ten days ago when Chavez called upon his military forces and the Venezuelan public to prepare for war with Colombia however, he retracted this statement several days later denying that he was promoting armed conflict.
The situation remains fragile and unresolved while Colombia has approached both the UN and the Organization of American States to intervene in the crisis.