SANTO DOMINGO, March 7 (Reuters) - Colombia, Ecuador and
Venezuela ended a dispute on Friday, publicly shaking hands at
a summit after a week of troop buildups that also saw several
countries cutting ties with Colombia.
"And with this ... this incident that has caused so much
damage would be resolved," leftist Ecuadorean President Rafael
Correa said before standing up and shaking hands with his
U.S.-backed Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who had blamed the United
States for the crisis as he sent tanks to the border with
U.S.-ally Colombia, joined in shaking Uribe's hand vigorously,
applauding loudly and smiling broadly.
The resolution of the dispute, which erupted on Saturday
when Colombia raided inside Ecuador to kill a commander of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was a surprise
ending to the summit.
The handshakes were broadcast live on television across
Latin America in response to a special request from summit host
Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez.
Earlier Uribe and Correa had clashed at the meeting.
Correa had called his conservative Colombian counterpart a
liar after he accused him of links to guerrillas.
The crisis had spread across the region with leftist allies
Venezuela and Nicaragua joining Ecuador in cutting diplomatic
ties with Colombia, while Venezuela and Ecuador poured troops
to their borders against the strongest U.S. ally in the
Nicaragua responded to the ending of the dispute by
restoring ties with Colombia.