CARACAS, July 22 (Xinhua) -- The Venezuelan government requested on Thursday an urgent meeting of the Foreign Ministers Council of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), claiming that neighboring Colombia was getting ready for a war against the country.
Meanwhile, the government ordered the closure of the Colombian embassy in Venezuela, giving the embassy staff 72 hours to leave the country.
The announcement was made by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro at a press conference, after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took the decision of totally breaking off ties with Colombia.
Maduro said that the Foreign Ministry on Thursday gave the Colombian embassy a notice, ordering the closure of the embassy, and also announced the immediate withdrawal of the Venezuelan diplomatic staff in Colombia.
Maduro called on all the Venezuelan governors, mayors and people to mobilize "to defend Venezuela's dignity."
The minister added that Venezuela is considering economic and commercial measures against Colombia, which will be announced soon by Chavez.
Claiming that Colombia is preparing a war against Venezuela, Maduro said that Chavez had asked his Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa, who holds the rotating presidency of Unasur, to summon an urgent meeting of the Unasur Foreign Ministers Council to discuss the issue.
Tensions have kept escalating between the two South American neighbors, with Colombia accusing Venezuela of sheltering Colombian guerrilla chiefs, and Venezuela firmly denying it.
- Venezuela breaks off diplomatic ties with Colombia 2010-07-23
- Venezuela cuts relations with Colombia 2010-07-23