Colombia seeks UN help, Chavez readies for 'war'

Colombia has said it will seek UN help after Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez instructed his military to ready "for war."

"Faced with these threats of war by the government of Venezuela, the government of Colombia is weighing heading to the Organization of American States and UN Security Council," said a statement from President Alvaro Uribe, read out by his spokesman Cesar Velasquez.

"Colombia has not made nor will it make any bellicose move toward the international community, (and) even less so toward fellow Latin American nations," the statement said.

"The only thing we are interested in is defeating terrorism related to drug trafficking, which has been so unfair to Colombians for so many years."

Colombia, the statement added, "remains ready for frank dialogue, achieving greater understanding and to the rules of international law."

A Venezuelan soldier at a checkpoint in San Antonio del Tachira on the Colombia-Venezuela border

Hours earlier, Chavez urged his military leaders to prepare "for war" and to ready citizens to "defend the homeland," as tensions continue to mount over fractious ties with neighboring Colombia.

"Let's not waste a day on our main aim: to prepare for war and to help the people prepare for war, because it is everyone's responsibility," Chavez said during his weekly radio and television show "Alo, Presidente."

The comments come at a tense time for the region as Colombia signs a controversial military agreement with the United States to let US forces use seven military bases in Colombia for anti-drug operations.

Chavez has repeatedly voiced deep fears of US encroachment in the region.

source AFP

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