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Colombia border conflict resolved – on the surface

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Miraflores Press Office/AP

(Read caption) Crisis averted: Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe (l.), shakes hands with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez as Dominican Republic's President Leonel Fernandez looks on during the Rio Group Summit in Santo Domingo on March 7.

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South America's simmering regional conflict has de-esclated as leaders toned down rhetoric and Colombia and Venezuela restored diplomatic ties.

Over the weekend, Venezuela reopened its Colombian embassy in a move that – perhaps superficially – reconciled a border dispute, reports the International Herald Tribune.

Colombia, a close US ally, and Venezuela, a rival of Washington, have been locked in a bitter dispute since March 1, when Colombian troops attacked a training camp inside Ecuador suspected to be used by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Colombian guerrilla group. Colombia claimed the strike was justified because it resulted in the death of a FARC leader. But President Hugo Chávez, who has sympathized with FARC rebels, viewed the strike as a violation of Ecuadorean sovereignty, the Associated Press reports.

Tensions flared when Venezuela expelled the Colombian ambassador and moved troops to the border with Colombia, Reuters reported.

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