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Statement - Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela - Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs

(Translation)

The government of the Bolivarian Republic watches with great worry and rejects the irresponsible statements by the Minister of Defense of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, that constitute a threat to the stability and sovereignty of the countries in the region.

The arrogance of Minister Santos is unacceptable.  He once again displayed his disregard for international law in asserting that attacking irregular forces beyond his borders “is a legitimate act of defense and a doctrine that is gaining more acceptance within the international community and law.”

Minister Santos shows a coarse ignorance of the consensus reached in the region following the signing of the Declaration of Heads of State and Government of the Rio Group on March 7th, 2008, in Santo Domingo.  This Declaration expresses: “the territory of a State is inviolable and cannot be subject to military occupation or any other measures of force taken by another State, directly or indirectly, whatever the motive, even if temporary.”  The Presidents of the region ratified this doctrine of the defense of the sovereignty of our countries.

For this reason, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela categorically rejects these statements that are an aggression toward the relation of coexistence and respect that our countries should have, and that constitute a threat to the agenda of cooperation and peace that Presidents Hugo Chávez Frías and Álvaro Uribe defined in recent bilateral meetings.

The government of President Hugo Chávez affirms its willingness to advance this positive agenda with the government of Colombia on the basis of strict respect for international law and the sacred sovereignty of our homeland.

Caracas, March 3, 2009

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