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Counterterrorism summit in Colombia targets Venezuela

Counterterrorism summit in Colombia targets Venezuela
Leaders from US, Latin America accuse oil-rich country's president of promoting terrorism in region

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombian President Ivan Duque linked the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah during an international conference Monday in Bogota to discuss regional cooperation against terrorism.

"We have evidence of the presence of Hezbollah cells in countries like Venezuela with the consent and complicity of the Maduro dictatorship,” Duque said.

More than 25 delegates from various countries participated in the conference, where Duque spoke of the need to adopt UN Security Council resolutions.

He referred specifically to UN Security Council Resolution 1373 which, he explained, "is very clear in that no state may promote, harbor, sponsor or facilitate terrorist activities on its territory."

Duque announced that Colombia had adopted European Union and U.S. lists of terrorist individuals and organizations, allowing for the timely detection of members of groups such as Daesh/ISIS and al-Qaeda. He called for the harmonization of these databases among countries.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the participants to take concrete actions to increase coordination and cooperation against terrorism. Pompeo also accused Maduro's government of offering safe havens to those groups.

“Transnational terrorist groups, including #Iran-backed Hezbollah, are still active in the Western Hemisphere. Today’s third Counterterrorism Ministerial is another important step in bolstering our collective efforts to fight these dangerous threats to freedom in the region,” he wrote on Twitter.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido met with Pompeo, who said the U.S. will continue its actions against Maduro.

"I am convinced that there will be future actions by the United States to continue supporting President Guaido and the people of Venezuela," Pompeo said after the meeting.

Guaido has defied a travel ban and ignores whether he will be able to return to Venezuela.

He will go on to Europe after leaving Colombia on Tuesday.

The U.S. threw its support behind Guaido when he proclaimed himself interim president of the oil-rich country on Jan. 23 last year, a move followed by a majority of Latin American countries.

source: News Feed
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