The UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) Foreign Affairs ministerial meeting concluded Thursday night in Quito without an agreement on how to solve the diplomatic rift between Venezuela and Colombia.
Given the lack of consensus the ministers asked the Unasur presidency, currently held by Ecuador, to convene a presidential summit so that they can address and decide on the different positions that surfaced at the Quito meeting.
A week ago Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with Colombia following claims by the administration of president Alvaro Uribe before OAS (Organization of American States) that (1.500) Colombian guerrillas were “tolerated” in Venezuelan territory which was vehemently denied by the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.
Ecuadorian chancellor Ricardo Patiño summing up Thursday’s debate behind closed doors in Quito, underlined the peace commitment of his colleagues and the willingness displayed to find a solution to the serious divergences between the neighbouring countries. However he admitted that no consensus decisions which could anticipate a rapprochement between the two sides was reached.
“There will be no final official document signed by each of the ministers because there are still different positions”, which have not allowed the drafting of a final document, said Patiño during a press conference in the Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs building seated between the Venezuelan and Colombian chancellors, Nicolas Maduro and Jaime Bermudez.
Patiño said that during discussions it was clear the commitment “to avoid the presence of irregular groups that alter regional harmony, that are involved in activities beyond the rule of the law and that unsettle the existence of peace in each of our countries and in the region”.
He also called on the Unasur pro-tempore chair “to collect all the different criteria, proposals and statements from the different countries referred to the peace proposals for the region”.
Patiño said ministers had requested a Unasur presidential summit “to address still unsolved issues” and which require “a higher level of definitions and accords, at the highest level”. And therefore the invitation to all South American heads of state to meet “as soon as possible” to finish up the job initiated by the chancellors.
“My words to not commit any of my colleagues here present at the meeting and only reflect that ‘huge desire’ to find peace and a cordial understanding between our countries, between our governments and between our peoples” concluded the Ecuadorean official acting as host of the Unasur meeting.