Ecuador expels Colombian ambassador

Updated: 2008-03-03 14:06

QUITO/BOGOTA -- Relations between Ecuador and Colombia chilled sharply on Sunday as the two countries attacked each other after Colombia's cross-border anti-rebel attack.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa ordered immediate expulsion of Colombia's ambassador on Sunday in protest of Colombia's cross-border attack.

He also ordered troop reinforcement in borders with Colombia.

"The Ecuadorian territory has been outraged and bombed by an air attack and the later incursion of (Colombian) troops," Correa told a news conference.

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"I decided on the immediate expulsion of Colombia's ambassador in Ecuador," he said, adding "I have ordered the mobilization of troops to the northern border and convened an urgent meeting of the National Security Council for tomorrow (Monday)."

Correa also said he had "called for an immediate meeting" of the Organization of American States and the Andean Community of nations.

Earlier on Sunday, Correa recalled Ecuador's ambassador from Colombia.

The Colombia military killed Raul Reyes, one of the seven-member secretariat of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's largest rebel group, in an attack on a jungle camp across the Colombia-Ecuador borders on Saturday, which was criticized by Ecuador and Venezuela as a violation to Ecuador's territorial sovereignty.

In Caracas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez formally ordered the nation's armed forces to be on high alert and the closure of Venezuela's embassy in Colombia.

Shortly after Correa's order, the Colombian government accused Correa of having ties with FARC.

"In the belongings of Raul Reyes found by the police and the Colombian forces were three computers ... in the next few minutes Police Commander General Oscar Naranjo will show document found in those computers which show evidence that the president of Ecuador, President Correa, has relations with the FARC," a Colombian presidential spokesman told reporters.

The bespectacled and bearded Reyes, whose real name was Luis Edgar Devia Silva, had been regarded as the FARC's No. 2 leader and a possible successor to the group's 77-year-old head Manuel Marulanda.

Famous for his tough stance in past negotiations with the government, Reyes was the FARC's public face as its official spokesman who often sent statements from the mountains of Colombia. A former union leader, he joined the FARC in the 1970s.

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