Venezuela reopening embassy in Colombia, resuming diplomatic relations

>CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuela said Sunday that it is reopening its embassy in Colombia and will allow back Colombian diplomats expelled last week by President Hugo Chávez in a crisis sparked by a cross-border Colombian attack on rebels in Ecuador.

The government cited an easing of tensions at a summit in the Dominican Republic on Friday, where Chávez of Venezuela and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa shook hands with Colombia’s U.S.-backed leader, Álvaro Uribe, after a tense debate.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said it “has decided to re-establish the normal functioning of its diplomatic relations with the government of the Republic of Colombia,” citing what it called a “victory for peace and sovereignty.”

Chávez ordered the Venezuelan embassy in Bogotá and sent troops to the border with Colombia after Colombia’s March 1 strike in Ecuador that killed 25 people including Raúl Reyes, a spokesman and top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Venezuela also said it was expelling Colombia’s ambassador and all diplomatic personnel.