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Secretary Rice Calls for Diplomatic Resolution of Latin American Dispute


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States wants to see a diplomatic solution to the rising dispute pitting Venezuela and Ecuador against Colombia.

Rice spoke in Brussels Thursday about the Latin American crisis following last week's military raid by Colombia on Colombian FARC rebels inside Ecuador.

Rice warned against allowing the FARC to continue to operate. The U.S. considers FARC a terrorist group.

Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos, also in Brussels, said his country does not want a fight with Ecuador and Venezuela. He reiterated his country will not send troops to its border.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent thousands of troops to the Venezuelan-Colombian border in response to the Saturday raid, but says he is not seeking an armed conflict.

On Wednesday, Mr. Chavez threatened to nationalize Colombian businesses in Venezuela. Escalation of the conflict could jeopardize the $6 billion in annual trade between the two countries.

Both Mr. Chavez and his Ecuadorian counterpart, Rafael Correa, have condemned the cross-border attack that killed more than 20 Colombian FARC rebels, including commander Raul Reyes.

The Organization of American States (OAS) approved a resolution Wednesday calling the attack a violation of Ecuador's sovereignty and international law, but stopped short of condemning the action.

Colombian officials have defended the incursion, and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has accused Venezuela of financing and supporting the FARC.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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