Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Saturday, 28 November 2009

Colombia ministers in summit 'snub' to Venezuela

The Unasur meeting in Ecuador
The meeting was given assurances about the US-Colombia deal

Tensions between Colombia and Venezuela have deepened further after Colombian ministers failed to attend a regional summit in Ecuador.

Relations between the two countries have been badly strained by Colombia's agreement to allow US troops onto its soil to combat drug trafficking.

The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) meeting in Ecuador was intended to defuse the row.

But Colombia refused to send its foreign and defence ministers.

It said because of the recent escalation of threats from Venezuela, respectful discussions were "impossible" - and instead despatched what it called a "technical delegation".

Venezuela called the move a huge mistake and an act of "contempt".

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