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Venezuela freezes diplomatic ties with Colombia

| Caracas (Venezuela)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday froze diplomatic relations with Colombia after Bogota accused Venezuela of alleged involvement in arms supplies to Colombian rebels.

"I’ve ordered the withdrawal of our ambassador from Bogota, and the withdrawal of our diplomatic personnel," the Venezuelan leader said in a televised Cabinet meeting.

"We will freeze relations with Colombia," he added.

Chavez’s announcement came a day after Colombia said Swedish-made weapons bought by Venezuela during the 1980s had ended up in the hands of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, who have been fighting the Bogota government for more than four decades.

"We are not going to accept this irresponsibility," Chavez said, calling the accusation a "big manipulation."

The Venezuelan leader also threatened to halt all trade agreements with the Colombian government "if there’s one more accusation against Venezuela."

There was no immediate comment from the Colombian government.

The move further raised tensions between the two neighboring countries after Chavez previously called a stronger military relationship between Colombia and the United States a threat to his country.

Colombia announced earlier this month that the United States would use three bases in Colombia to fight drug trafficking in the country.

Source: Xinhuanet.com

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