Chavez sees no Uribe reconciliation

But Venezuelan leader says he favours "normal flow" of ties with Colombia.

    Chavez said he was a 'man who has dignity' [Reuters]
    Colombian officials have said they were unsure what the freezing of ties entailed.
     
    Uncertainty
     
    "We don't know what this will mean," said Luis Guillermo Plata, Colombia's commerce minister. "We will have to see how this develops."
     
    Business groups were worried about an impact on trade from the diplomatic spat.
     
    Chavez had warned his cabinet ministers on Sunday to be "on alert" over commercial ties with Colombia, Venezuela's second-largest trading partner with an estimated $6bn annually.
     
    "The economic relations, the business the Colombians have here. That we have there. The commercial relationships. All of this is going to be damaged," Chavez said.
     
    "But well, it is unfortunate, but what can we do? What can we do? What can we do? You all have in front of you, a man who has dignity."
     
    Uribe and Chavez have maintained pragmatic ties despite ideological differences.
     
    But the hostage dispute has fuelled the worst tensions since 2005 when Caracas recalled its envoy after bounty hunters snatched a Colombian rebel inside Venezuela.
     
    Uribe had in August had invited Chavez to try to broker an agreement with the Marxist Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels over their hostages.
     
    But he appeared to grow frustrated with the Venezuelan leader's handling of the negotiations and dropped him last week, saying Chavez broke with agreed protocol by speaking to the head of Colombia's army without consulting him.
     
    On Sunday Uribe said Chavez had sided with the guerrillas in the mediation and accused him of fomenting an "expansionist" project in Latin America.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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