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Venezuela's Chavez Warns Colombia Against Cross-Border Raids


Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has warned Colombia against sending troops into Venezuelan territory in pursuit of rebels.

Speaking on his weekly television and radio program Sunday, Mr. Chavez said he would respond to any such Colombian incursion by deploying Venezuelan warplanes and tanks.

Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said earlier this month Bogota has a right to pursue terrorists attacking his country wherever they are. Colombian troops raided a FARC rebel camp in Ecuador last March, killing 20 people, including senior rebel Raul Reyes.

President Chavez says Santos would be foolish to authorize a similar incursion into Venezuela. Mr. Chavez says he spoke Saturday with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and reiterated that Venezuela does not seek a conflict with Colombia.

Mr. Chavez has called Santos a threat to peace in South America and a pawn of the United States. The Venezuelan leader responded to Colombia's 2008 raid into Ecuador by sending Venezuelan troops to the border with Colombia.

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

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