Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia recalls envoy from Venezuela amid rebel row

File photo from 2007 showing Farc leaders Rodrigo Granda and Ivan Marquez - photo courtesy of El Tiempo
Image caption Farc leaders Rodrigo Granda and Ivan Marquez are among those in Venezuela, Colombia says

Colombia has recalled its ambassador to Caracas amid a worsening row over accusations that Venezuela tolerates Colombian rebels on its soil.

Ambassador Maria Luisa Chiappe was being summoned "to evaluate the situation", officials said.

The Organization of American States is holding a special meeting to hear a formal complaint from Colombia.

Bogota says it has evidence Venezuela provides a haven for guerrillas - a charge Caracas denied.

The simmering dispute erupted again last week when Colombia said it had proof that five rebel leaders were sheltering in Venezuela.

The Bogota government also said it had video recordings and the exact grid co-ordinates of not only the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) camps, but those of the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN).

Venezuela rejected the accusations and recalled its ambassador.

New president

Now the row has moved to a wider arena with Colombia presenting its evidence at a specially convened session of the Washington-based OAS.

Image caption Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is coming to the end of his time in office

The issue over whether Venezuela has rebels on its territory has dogged ties between the two South American nations for the past eight years.

Relations between Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, could not be much worse, says the BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Bogota.

However, it is Juan Manuel Santos - due to be sworn in as Colombia's new president on 7 August - who will have to handle the fallout from this latest dispute, he adds.

Mr Santos has previously indicated he would like to improve relations with Venezuela.

On Wednesday, the head of the OAS's permanent council, Francisco Proano, resigned, saying he had come under pressure from his home country, Ecuador, to postpone the special meeting.

Relations between Ecuador and Colombia have been strained since Colombian forces attacked a Farc camp in Ecuador two years ago, killing a senior rebel leader.

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