Cross-Cultural Understanding

News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Bush calls Colombian president to express support  for the surge against FARC 2008-03-05 00:42:36  

    WASHINGTON, March 4 (Xinhua) --

U.S. President George W. Bush has called his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe to express support for his "strong leadership" against Colombian rebels, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Tuesday.

    "The president thanked President Uribe for his strong leadership in going after the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)," Johndroe said.

    According to media reports, Colombia bombed and dispatched troops into Ecuador in a weekend raid that killed a leader of the FARC in his jungle camp.

    The U.S. government has expressed support for the Colombian action. However, countries including Brazil and Venezuela have condemned the raid by Colombia, which has been a key U.S. ally in South America.     

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Ecuador breaks off diplomatic relations with Colombia 2008-03-04 06:57:52  

·Ecuador broke off diplomatic relations on Monday with Colombia due to diplomatic conflict. ·The break-off comes 48 hours after Colombian police and military officials killed rebels. ·The raid killed 21 FARC fighters, including Edgar Devia.

    QUITO, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador broke off diplomatic ties on Monday with Colombia, in the latest development of a crisis spawn by Colombia's cross-border attack on rebels inside Ecuadorian territory on Saturday.

    "The government of Ecuador had decided to break diplomatic relations with Colombia, starting today," Ecuadorian president's office said in a statement.

    Earlier, Ecuador withdrew its ambassador from Colombia, expelled Colombian ambassador and deployed more troops to its border with the neighboring country, saying it is on guard against any possible violation of its territorial integrity.

    Ecuador accused the Colombian military of trespassing its territory in the Saturday cross-border attack on rebels from the largest Colombian rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

    Some 20 FARC members, including the group's NO. 2 leader Raul Reyes, were killed in the raid.

    Ecuadorian Defense Minister Wellington Sandoval told reporters on Monday that he had visited the scene of the attack and got clear evidence of territorial violation.

    Colombia's Foreign Ministry, however, denied the charge of trespassing its neighbor's territory, insisting the country was doing "legitimate self-defense."

    The break of diplomatic ties is expected to fuel the diplomatic tensions between Colombia and its neighbors, local media said.

    Aside from Ecuador, Venezuela also reacted strongly to protest Colombia's cross-border crackdown on FARC rebels.

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday he was immediately sending troops, tanks and fighter aircraft to the Colombian frontier, adding that his Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa could "count on Venezuela for whatever it needs, in any situation."

    Venezuela also expelled all Colombian diplomats and withdrew all its own personnel from its embassy in Bogota soon after the incident.

    The escalating crisis has drawn attention within the region and from outside.

    The Organization of American States decided to create a committee to investigate the dispute between Ecuador and Colombia and help resolve the crisis through dialogue.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on the three countries to exercise restraint and "address their shared concerns in the spirit of dialogue and cooperation."

For a background, see:

Venezuela puts army on high alert, closes Colombia embassy

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