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LeMieux: Venezuela Cutting Diplomatic Ties with Colombia is Troubling

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) today made the following statement amid reports that Venezuela has cut diplomatic relations with Colombia. President Chavez made the announcement in response to Colombia presenting information to the Organization of American States (OAS) on FARC narco-terrorist activities taking place in Venezuela.

Sen. LeMieux said:

"I am troubled by the evidence presented today by the government of Colombia regarding the presence and freedom of action afforded to FARC narcoterrorists inside Venezuelan territory.

Chavez's decision to cut diplomatic ties with Colombia is not a serious response to Colombia's legitimate concerns and unnecessarily raises tensions in the region.

"Terrorism is a threat to all of our citizens. As signatory of the 2002 Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, the Venezuelan government has the obligation to prevent, punish and eliminate terrorism -- including its financing.

"I urge all OAS members to take appropriate and decisive action to ensure that Colombia's legitimate concerns about the FARC presence in Venezuela get fully addressed. I urge the Venezuelan government to heed the call from its neighbor to respond to this evidence by increasing antiterrorism cooperation. By taking their concerns to the OAS, the government of Colombia gives the organization another opportunity to demonstrate its enduring role as the pre-eminent regional organization in the Western Hemisphere."

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