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UNASUR to discuss Caracas, Bogota

South American foreign ministers gather in Ecuador to discuss broken ties between Venezuela and Colombia and find a peaceful solution to the escalating diplomatic row.

The meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) is the first encounter between the two governments since Venezuela severed relations with Colombia last week.

The crisis began after Bogota accused Caracas of serving as a rear base for Colombian rebels.

The left-wing rebel groups have been fighting the Colombian authorities since the 1960s.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has expressed hope that the issue will be resolved peacefully.

However, Colombia’s Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez has expressed doubts over reaching a solution at the UNASUR meeting.

Maduro and Bermudez also traded accusations at the start of the meeting.

Upon arrival in Quito, the Venezuelan foreign minister said that his country had asked the south American states to respond to the “grave threats and grave attacks” posed by Colombia, Reuters reported.

Bermudez, on the other hand, once again accused Caracas of sheltering rebel groups including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN).

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has offered to mediate between the two sides.

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