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By Brian Wagner
Miami
03 March 2008


Ecuador and Venezuela have ordered troops to their borders with Colombia, after a Colombian attack on rebels inside Ecuador. VOA's Brian Wagner reports from Miami.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa speaks during a nationally broadcast speech at the presidential palace in Quito, 2 Mar 2008
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa gives a nationally broadcast speech from the presidential palace in Quito, 2 Mar 2008
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said he had recalled his country's top diplomat in Colombia and expelled Colombia's ambassador from Quito. He also called for immediate meetings of the Organization of American States and the Andean Community of Nations to discuss Saturday's attack by Colombian troops.

Colombian officials apologized for the incident, saying they sent helicopters and troops across the border to find the source of shots fired against them. They said the attack killed 17 rebels, including a top commander, Raul Reyes, of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known as FARC.

Ecuadorean soldiers run to board a helicopter in Lago Agrio, northeast Ecuador, that will take troops to Angostura, near the border with Colombia, 3 Mar 2008
Ecuadorean soldiers run to board a helicopter in Lago Agrio, northeast Ecuador, that will take troops to Angostura, near the border with Colombia, 3 Mar 2008
Mr. Correa rejected the claims and accused Colombia of lying about the incident. He said the operation was a deliberate attack inside Ecuadorian territory, which violates the nation's sovereignty, bilateral accords, and international law.

In Caracas, President Hugo Chavez said he was sending tank battalions to his nation's border with Colombia and said he would respond if Colombian troops crossed into Venezuela.

Colombia says FARC rebels often cross remote jungle borders into Ecuador and Venezuela to seek refuge from Colombian military attacks.

In Bogota, police officials said troops had recovered the body of Reyes as well as rebel computers containing documents that suggested growing ties between the FARC and Ecuador's government.

National police director Oscar Naranjo reported one letter from Reyes said an emissary from President Correa had offered establishing formal ties with the FARC. He said the documents merit a response from Ecuador about the state of its relationship with a terrorist organization.

Ecuador's government said the claims were false.

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