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By Brian Wagner
Miami
07 March 2008

The presidents of Colombia and Ecuador say they have resolved a dispute sparked by a Colombian attack on a rebel base inside Ecuador last week. In Miami, VOA's Brian Wagner reports the agreement came after the two exchanged harsh words during a regional summit.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe speaks during the opening session of the Rio Group summit in Santo Domingo, 07 Mar 2008
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe speaks during the opening session of the Rio Group summit in Santo Domingo, 07 Mar 2008
The dispute between the two South American nations dominated talks between heads of state of the Rio Group in the Dominican Republic on Friday.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe again apologized Ecuador for Saturday's cross-border attack that killed more than 20 militants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC.

But he criticized the reaction of Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, adding his government has failed to cooperate in efforts to rein in the rebels.

Mr. Uribe said Mr. Correa's claims that the attack was a massacre ignore the reality of the terrorist threat posed by the FARC.

Later, Mr. Uribe and Mr. Correa worked with other heads of state at the summit to draft a statement resolving the dispute. The draft said Colombia apologized for the incident and vowed never again to violate another nation's sovereignty. It also called on nations to fight armed groups that use violence or threaten regional stability.

President Correa said he was pleased with the resolution and accepted Colombia's apology.

Mr. Correa said with the agreement, the two sides can leave behind the grave incident that had caused his country great harm.

The two men shook hands at the close of the meeting, as regional leaders applauded the agreement.

Earlier this week, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua said they had cut relations with Colombia because of the dispute. After the agreement was reached, the Venezuelan and Nicaraguan presidents said they hopes to restore ties with Bogota.

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