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US Rules Out Military Action Against Venezuela

The United States says it has no intention of initiating military action against Venezuela in response to threats by the country's president that he would cut off oil supplies if the U.S. backed an attack against Venezuela by Colombia.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Virginia Staab said Monday the United States enjoys a mutually beneficial energy relationship with Venezuela and Washington would like it to continue.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told thousands of supporters Sunday that if the U.S. backed Colombia in "armed aggression" against Venezuela, his country would suspend oil shipments to the United States. The U.S. is the top buyer of oil from the South American country.

Mr. Chavez also said Sunday that he is canceling a trip to Cuba due to the tensions with Colombia.

President Chavez announced last week he was breaking diplomatic ties with Colombia for what he said were false claims by Bogota that Venezuela is harboring Colombian rebels. He ordered troops to be on "maximum alert" at the border.

Mr. Chavez acted after Colombia went before the Organization of American States' permanent council in Washington to present photographs, maps, coordinates and videos it said show 1,500 guerrillas hiding in Venezuela.

Colombia requested the OAS session after charging that leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, and the National Liberation Army, or ELN, had taken refuge in Venezuela. Venezuela's OAS envoy, Roy Chaderton, said the items presented by Colombia's ambassador did not provide any solid evidence of a guerrilla presence in Venezuela.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Friday that Colombia's allegations are serious and deserve to be fully investigated.

In 2008, Venezuela and Ecuador broke diplomatic relations with Colombia after Colombian troops raided a FARC rebel camp in Ecuador, killing FARC commander Raul Reyes and at least 20 other people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.