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Colombia Accuses Chavez of Supporting Genocide

By VOA News
04 March 2008

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe says his government will ask the International Criminal Court to charge Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with sponsoring and financing genocide.

Speaking to reporters in Bogota Tuesday, Mr. Uribe accused his Venezuelan counterpart of financing and supporting Colombia's main rebel group, FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. He said Colombia will file a complaint with the international court.

Colombia, the United States and the European Union have labeled the FARC a terrorist group.

Venezuela and Ecuador cut diplomatic ties with Colombia after its forces attacked FARC rebels inside Ecuador on Saturday. Venezuelan President Chavez and Ecuadorian President Rafael President Correa also ordered troops to their countries' borders with Colombia.

Colombian officials say documents found during Saturday's raid show that Mr. Chavez paid $300 million to support FARC rebels in Colombia. Venezuelan officials reject that claim.

The Organization of American States was to hold an emergency meeting today in an attempt to peacefully resolve the dispute.

Colombia's government apologized for the raid, which killed 21 people, but said it was a necessary part of its decades-long military struggle with FARC rebels. One of those killed was Raul Reyes, a spokesman and leader of FARC.

The French Foreign Ministry says it had been communicating with Reyes in negotiations for the release of hostage Ingrid Betancourt. The FARC has held the former Colombian presidential candidate captive for the past six years. Betancourt also holds French nationality.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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