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Nicaragua breaks diplomatic relations with Colombia

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  • NEW: President Daniel Ortega said move "in solidarity" with Ecuador
  • On Saturday, Colombia's military attacked a rebel camp in Ecuador
  • U.S. official: Small chance Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador will fight
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(CNN) -- Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega said Thursday that the nation is breaking relations with Colombia "in solidarity with the Ecuadoran people."

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega said the nation is breaking diplomatic relations with Colombia.

The move comes after the Organization of American States passed a resolution Wednesday in hopes of easing tensions stemming from an attack by Colombian military on a rebel camp in neighboring Ecuador on Saturday.

Since that attack, Ecuador has broken off relations with Colombia, and Venezuela says it has moved troops to its border with Colombia.

Ortega made his televised remarks in Managua, where he was flanked by Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa.

Colombian forces killed at least 17 members of the leftist group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia on Saturday. FARC is estimated to be holding at least 700 hostages in the jungles of Colombia and has been accused by the United States of being a terrorist organization.

"This rupture of relations isn't with the people of Colombia," Ortega said. "We are breaking with the terrorist policies that the government of [Colombian President] Alvaro Uribe is practicing."

In its resolution, the OAS called the attack "a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ecuador and of principles of international law."

It ordered a commission, headed by OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza and composed of four ambassadors designated by him, to visit both countries to investigate the matter, "and to propose formulas for bringing the two nations closer together."

Colombian officials have apologized for taking their attack against the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia into Ecuador but said it was necessary to counter a threat to their national security.

Colombian officials also said they discovered evidence after the attack that Ecuadoran and Venezuelan government officials were collaborating with the group -- namely that Chavez allegedly gave $300 million to the rebels and that a senior Ecuadoran official met with them.

"[They] are making things up and there's no limit to what they'll make up," Chavez said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Correa has said his country would only be satisfied when the OAS issues a "clear condemnation" against Colombia for the raid.

OAS foreign ministers are to meet March 17 in Washington "to examine the facts and make the pertinent recommendations," the resolution concluded.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that he saw little chance of war erupting between Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Learn more about the countries »


Gates added that the United States would not need to assist its Colombian allies should armed conflict break out.

"My personal view is that there is relatively little likelihood of a military conflict between them, and my further impression is that the Colombians can take care of themselves," he said at the Pentagon. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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