Colombian Foreign Affairs minister Jaime Bermudez claimed Venezuela impeded reaching a consensus on a cooperation mechanism preventing the presence of Colombian guerrillas in other countries, during the Unasur ministerial meeting Thursday in Ecuador.
“I regret we could not reach a definitive consensus”, said Bermudez following the meeting convened by Unasur to try and shore up differences between the neighbouring countries following the breaking of diplomatic relations with Colombia declared by Venezuela a week ago.
During the session “all the chancellors reached a preliminary draft which included different aspects” such as “defining efficient cooperation mechanisms to impede groups of criminals and terrorists, in this case FARC and ELN, can establish in any country of the region”, added Bermudez.
But “when we had reached this preliminary text, and us, Colombia and all the other ministers were in agreement, at last minute Venezuela decided not to accept the text and asked it be considered non official, which we very much regret”, underlined Bermudez.
“Obviously for us the main concern is the issue of Venezuela”, he affirmed.
Apparently the debate centred on a Brazilian initiative of five points which basically calls on both sides to leave aside differences and help fight the irregular forces.
It also called on both sides to avoid further statements to the press that could only worsen an already complicated situation.
Bermudez who was one of the first Foreign Affairs ministers to arrive in Ecuador had anticipated he wasn’t very hopeful about events at the Unasur meeting.
“I really don’t have great expectations. First of all because the permanent Secretary General, former (Argentine) president (Nestor) Kirchner is not coming; second because several countries have sent their Deputy ministers; thirdly because according to informal discussions with my colleagues some of them feel the meeting is not convenient”, said Bermudez.
The chancellor added that “for any decision a consensus is needed and we know before hand the position of some countries”.
Finally he said that he sincerely hopes that the incoming Colombian government of president-elect Juan Manuel Santos “has the chance to convince Venezuela to cooperate with facts and efficiently and not only rhetorically regarding these issues”.
In related news Foreign Affairs official Hector Timerman formally presented his Ecuadorean peer Patiño Argentina’s ratification of the act creating the Union of South American Nations.
Of the twelve member countries, the Unasur constitution treaty has only been ratified by Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Venezuela and now Argentina.