Costa Rica urges patience in Venezuela-Colombia dispute

August 6, 2010

 

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla issued a call for patience among her Latin American peers in the dispute involving Colombia and Venezuela.
 
Just back from a visit to Colombia, where she met with former President Alvaro Uribe, and after dialogue with recently inaugurated President Juan Manuel Santos in Costa Rica a week earlier, Chinchilla said the two governments need to come to terms on their own.
 
“My call would be not to rush it,” Chinchilla said at a meeting with media in the Costa Rican government offices. “We should give Santos time to assume his position. If the situation between Venezuela and Colombia doesn’t improve after a few weeks, then the government of Colombia, or the government of Venezuela, or both, are within their rights to seek mediation.”
 
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez broke off relations with Colombia last month, after then-President Uribe accused him of harboring 1,500 left-wing rebels in Venezuelan territory. Uribe also appealed to the Organization of American States to investigate the matter.
 
Chávez flew to Colombia on Tuesday to meet with Santos, after refusing to attend his inauguration on Saturday.
 
Chinchilla, who assumed office in May, follows a president known for mediating conflicts. Former President Oscar Arias earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for developing a peace plan that brought and end to conflicts in Central America. More recently, he played an important role in mediating last year’s crisis in Honduras.
 
Noting that several presidents have offered to mediate the dispute between Colombia and Venezuela, Chinchilla encouraged them to give the two countries a chance to sort things out on their own.
 
“We are seeing Santos say, ‘I appreciate (your offer), but no thanks. It’s my issue,’” Chinchilla said. “Give them some time and maybe we will see a new era in the relations between Venezuela and Colombia.”
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