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Ecuador Seeks Probe of Colombian Rebel Documents


Ecuador says it will ask the Organization of American States to investigate Colombian rebel computer files that allegedly show links to the Quito government. In Medellin, VOA's Brian Wagner reports Ecuadorian officials have criticized Colombia's handling of the computer documents.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Maria Isabel Salvador announced plans to issue the request before the start of the general assembly of the 34-nation group in Colombia.

Salvador said Ecuador's government has been the target of false information allegedly found on computers of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia after a cross-border raid in March. Ecuador cut diplomatic ties with Colombia after the military operation, which killed a rebel commander and some two dozen others.

Salvador said she will appeal directly to the secretary-general of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, who led a mission to the region in March to study the crisis.

Salvador said she wants the secretary-general to investigate everything possible about the situation and make the appropriate determinations about the computer data.

Colombian officials have said the computer files show the Quito government had improper contact with rebels about a possible hostage release. They also allege Venezuela's government was planning to give $300 million to the leftist guerrillas -- a claim that Venezuela has denied.

Salvador said Ecuador has nothing to hide and noted her government has made great efforts to combat Colombian rebels and illegal drug trafficking inside the country. She said the cross-border raid has caused serious divisions between the two countries.

Salvador said it may be possible to renew diplomatic ties in a short period of time, but it will take much longer to rebuild trust.

Insulza is expected to release his findings about the cross-border raid late Tuesday near the close of the general assembly.

Colombian officials did not immediately respond to the criticism from Ecuador. At an earlier event, President Alvaro Uribe told delegates that Colombia does not have a tradition of inciting trouble with its neighbors.

He said Colombia values the rule of law and judicial order, as what he called the path to building friendship and trust among governments.

Colombian officials have said they are prepared to renew diplomatic ties with Ecuador as soon as Quito wants to do so.


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