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Ibero-American Summit text pits Cuba, Venezuela against Colombia

Editorial | EFE News

Salamanca, Spain, Oct 14 (EFE).- An Ibero-American Summit declaration supporting the peace process in Colombia and condemning terrorism sparked objections from Cuba and Venezuela, Latin American diplomatic sources told EFE on Friday.

Cuba and Venezuela objected to describing as "illegal" and "terrorist" the armed groups active in Colombia - Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in particular - which the two nations prefer to call "irregular," according to sources who requested anonymity. But that term was rejected by most of the Ibero-American delegations, which shared Colombia's position that the groups are rightly called "terrorist," and also expressed political support for President Alvaro Uribe's peace efforts.

The Colombian president instructed his foreign minister, Carolina Barco, not to sign any declaration that is not clear in its definition of "terrorist groups." "If they (alluding to the FARC) are not described as terrorists, we won't sign that, period. You can't call 'irregulars' those who set off car bombs," Uribe told the foreign minister in a telephone conversation that EFE witnessed.

To call them "irregulars" would be to recognize that the Colombian conflict involves two internationally recognized parties, Latin American diplomatic sources told EFE.

In the course of Friday's session, the foreign ministers will attempt to come up with wording that satisfies all the delegations. Though on Thursday it was named among the 15 "special communications" appended to the "Declaration of Salamanca" to be issued at the end of the two-day meeting, it was the only one not released to the press because it had not yet been agreed on. On Thursday, Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo told a group of journalists of his "firm and unambiguous" rejection of terrorism, "of whatever kind it is and wherever it comes from."

Among the 15 resolutions scheduled to be adopted along with the Declaration of Salamanca at the 15th Ibero-American Summit, one decries impunity for those who commit terrorist acts and supports "efforts to achieve extradition and bring to trial the person responsible for the terrorist attack that killed 73 people on a Cubana de Aviacion plane in October 1976," a reference to anti-Castro activist Luis Posada Carriles, currently detained in the United States. EFE va/mp

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