Russia voices concern over growing tensions in South America

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Russia's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela to avoid escalating tensions after Colombian forces crossed into Ecuador and killed a senior rebel commander.
MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela to avoid escalating tensions after Colombian forces crossed into Ecuador and killed a senior rebel commander.

"Russia is concerned over the growing crisis in Colombia's relations with Ecuador and Venezuela, following a cross-border operation conducted by the Colombian military against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) fighters based in Ecuador," the ministry said.

Colombia's military announced on Saturday that troops had killed Raul Reyes, a leading Marxist FARC figure, during an attack on a camp in an Ecuadorian jungle. The operation included air strikes and border shootouts.

In response to the attack, Ecuador and Venezuela cut diplomatic ties with Colombia and deployed troops on their neighbor's border.

Venezuela's left-wing President Hugo Chavez warned that war could break out if Colombia struck on Venezuelan soil.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called upon the three Latin American nations to act with restraint.

"We believe that in this situation which is complicated for all three countries, the most important thing is to prevent an escalation of the crisis, which may threaten stability in the whole region," it said.

In a recent dramatic turn in the crisis, Colombia alleged that Hugo Chavez funded FARC rebels and that the rebels had been planning to make a radioactive bomb, threatening the entire Latin American region, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

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