In the midst of an escalating diplomatic clash with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Colombian president Alvaro Uribe said he disavows any aggressive international speech towards Venezuela.
“As long as I am president I do not authorize any sort of international aggressive speech or statement towards Venezuela. Colombia is not in that game, we do not sponsor a strategy of aggressiveness“, underlined President Uribe in an interview on Wednesday with a local broadcasting station.
Colombian-Venezuelan relations are undergoing their worst period in recent history following the growing criticism from President Chavez towards Colombia’s cooperation agreement with Washington to allow the deployment of US forces in seven Colombian military bases.
President Uribe’s public statement follows on a military parade headed by Chavez in a Venezuelan town next to the Colombian border where he reiterated that Bogotá with the support from Washington is preparing an attack on Venezuela to have him removed from office and gain direct access to the country’s rich oil resources.
Earlier this week a Defence ministry paper leaked to the press said that Colombia urgently needs military dissuasive equipment so it can defend its sovereignty against any expansionist or territorial threats from neighbouring countries.
“Our message at all times has to be a message of love towards the brotherly people of Venezuela. The President of Colombia withdraws all authority from any mention or word that could represent a retaliatory intention, or international bellicose spirit. Colombia will not permit any conduct of that sort”, emphasized Uribe.
“Our only objective is defeating the internal terrorism problem we have”, added Uribe.
Uribe and the Colombian cabinet have been very cautious and prudent in their attitude towards Chavez and the current crisis with Venezuela.
However Colombian Defence minister Gabriel Silva recently responded ironically to claims from Chavez that unmanned aircrafts (drones) have been over-flying Venezuela.
Silva said that most possibly the Venezuelan soldiers “mistook Father Christmas sleigh for the alleged spy aircraft”.
But Silva later praised Uribe’s statement as a gesture of fraternity and friendship and wished that Colombia should never be involved in an international conflict.
“It’s a clear message of brotherhood from President Uribe. You also know I consider myself not the minister of defence but the minister of peace, and I wish we are never involved in an international conflict and that we can soon finish with our internal enemies, with terrorism which is our main goal”, Silva told a gathering of Colombian journalists.
Since the signing of the cooperation agreement between Colombia and Washington, Chavez has been insistently claiming that the US wants to establish a launching pad from Colombia to attack Venezuela.