THE ASSOCIATED PRESSThe New York TimesMay 18, 2008CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela on Saturday accused 60 Colombian soldiers of illegally entering its territory, further stirring up tensions between the countries.
Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela said 60 Colombian troops had been intercepted Friday in Venezuela’s western Apure state, about 875 yards from the border.
In a written statement Mr. Maduro asked Colombia’s government to “immediately cease these violations of international rights.”
President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia announced Saturday that he had asked his nation’s army to investigate the charge. If true, Uribe vowed, Colombia would apologize. “It’s certain that we’ll give an explanation,” he said.
The two South American nations share a 1,370-mile border that winds through mountains and thick patches of jungle.
Venezuela has accused Colombia of deliberately destabilizing the region, just two months after a cross-border Colombian raid on a rebel camp in Ecuador on March 1.